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if you didn’t need to worry about money…

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If you didn’t need to worry about money, what would you do all day?

I went to another oboe lesson yesterday. One of the interesting challenges of learning a wind instrument that I wasn’t prepared for is how tired practicing makes the muscles around your mouth. This means that you can only practice for a limited amount of time, and as a beginner, we’re talking about 10 minutes or so. Well, you can’t get much done in that time, so ideally, I prefer to practice three or four times a day. As the oboe is pretty loud (and I sound like a duck) I can’t do any practice late in the evenings as I don’t want to annoy my neighbours. All together, this means that my day job is interfering with learning the oboe.

It got me thinking about what I would do all day if I didn’t need to go to work. It goes without saying that I love this website, and so I’d want to spend more time writing for plonkee money, and probably work on some other web projects. As I explained above, I’d also want to spend more time practicing the oboe (and probably the viola, which I also play). There are a couple of other things that I’d like to have more time to do. Finally, I actually like what I do for a living now, and some of the challenges and so that I get at work couldn’t be easily replicated elsewhere so I’d still like to keep the same job.

It looks like my best combination would be working at my current day job for the equivalent of 3 working days a week, working on web projects for the equivalent of 3 days per week, and then spending a couple of hours a day on music practice and other projects. This might sound like it’s still a lot of work, but it would actually be less that I currently do.

The difference between my best combination, and what I actually do, is that I spend more time on my day job than I’d like, and not enough time on everything else. I am working towards changing this though. This year I have started to take at least one day off per month to work on web stuff and other things, on top of the regular hours that I put in each evening.

If you didn’t need to worry about money, what would you do all day? And how are you working towards it? Let me know in the comments.

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20 comments for “if you didn’t need to worry about money…”

  1. I am not exactly sure what I would do all day, every day, but I do know I would not spend 5 days a week at my full time job. And I would spend more time on my web sites. I have built up my earning from my web sites and would like to reduce my time at my job and increase my time working on them. This summer I am working 4 days a week and spending the other day working on trying to make that more financially reasonable.

    I also rent out my first house which was part of a long term plan to diversify my income - instead of just having one real source of income from my job. That is working well.

    Posted by John Hunter | June 9, 2008, 12:39 pm
  2. This is something I’ve thought about time and again. If I didn’t have to worry about money, I would start businesses of my own and help others springboard their businesses. I would continue to write for my blog (and maybe others). I would work part days at home and then spend the rest of the day with my family; helping my children with their homework, going outside to play, taking spontaneous day trips. I would be the biggest grown-up kid on the block! :)

    Posted by That One Caveman | June 9, 2008, 2:15 pm
  3. Great question. I would quit my day job, it’s just too stressful. I would definitely spend far more time writing on my blogs and start a consulting business on the side doing freelance work - setting up websites, helping bloggers, doing php development, etc.

    I would spend WAY more time with my family.

    Like you, I would spend time playing and learning instruments. I can play banjo, but would love to practice more. I can play guitar a little and would love to learn to play it better. I would also love to learn how to play the Mandolin.

    The one thing I would love to be able to do is to wake up and if I didn’t feel like working, I just wouldn’t. That would be bliss.

    Posted by glblguy | June 9, 2008, 2:22 pm
  4. I used to play the saxophone, so I know about sore lips/mouth.

    If money weren’t an issue for me, I’d still be doing most of what I do now (I already work from home).

    The big differences would be:

    1. No deadlines!
    2. More time traveling.
    3. Shorter work days (4 hours instead of 8).

    Posted by Debt Reduction Formula | June 9, 2008, 3:23 pm
  5. I play all day.

    I’m an oboist. ;-)

    Posted by patty | June 9, 2008, 3:46 pm
  6. Birds of a feather flock together. Looks like lots of people are having the same sorts of ideas that I am.

    Diversifying income is a good way to achieve the balance that you’re looking for. You’ll have to let us know how the summer pans out.

    @That One Caveman:
    Sounds like a lot of fun - possibly apart from the homework bit, I’m not sure that I’d be all that much help myself. Going outside to play should be on everyone’s to do list.

    More websites! You’ve already got quite a few. I guess we can see where your professional passions lie.

    @Debt Reduction Formula:
    Good to have someone commiserating on the technical problems with playing wind instruments.

    It sounds like you’ve already got pretty close to where you want to be. Good for you. :)

    Posted by plonkee | June 9, 2008, 3:47 pm
  7. Hmmm…. I think I would volunteer at the Humanities Council, and probably also at one of the city museums, and I would be an usher at one or more of the theaters. And I would get back into hiking. A lot of hiking.

    And…and… ??????

    Maybe get a part-time job?????????

    Herein lies the whole retirement issue. It’s really hard to conceive of what one would do with an extra eight or ten hours of free time every day.

    Posted by Funny about Money | June 9, 2008, 11:56 pm
  8. I would have absolutely no problem filling my days with reading, crafting and traveling. I have an incredible capacity to sit on my backside all day and entertain myself, I really don’t think I’d get bored at all.
    It’s possibly in my genes though, my aunt took early retirement (55) and reads and travels and my mum has been working part time for years (I think she promised to wait and retire with my dad!) and spends her 4 days/week off reading and crafting.

    Posted by Looby | June 10, 2008, 5:03 am
  9. I get to indulge the fantasy during the summer since I’m a teacher. I aim to write/work until noon each day. Then, I have the afternoon to myself, often I spend time reading, cooking or getting outside. Finally, I spend an hour or so in the late afternoon doing housework. It is ten times better than when I had a day job during the summer, but still takes motivation and routine to avoid turning into a couch potato!

    Posted by Mydailydollars | June 10, 2008, 2:02 pm
  10. Travel. Read. Travel. Watch crap on TV. Cook. Travel. Take a class. Dance. Yoga. Climbing. Drink. Did I mention travel?

    Posted by deepali | June 10, 2008, 6:34 pm
  11. @Funny about Money:
    Tell you what, you make all the money, and I’ll spend it for you ;) I imagine that you could find things to do - after all, you don’t actually have to give up your job.

    Looks like you’ve got it all covered - sounds like fun too.

    If only I could bring myself to enjoy teaching, that would work for me too. Avoiding turning into a couch potato is always difficult. I wonder if knowing that you’ll never have to go back to your regular routine would make a difference.

    Travel is good. Marginally better than watching crap on tv ;) .

    Posted by plonkee | June 10, 2008, 6:59 pm
  12. This is the question I love to ask myself. I know I’d want to be engaged in something meaningful, so I’d probably keep working, just seek to cut back the hours dramatically. I’d blog every morning and eat early dinners.

    I’d love to have two or three days per week to just go where the day takes me, with no chores or laundry or bill paying to worry about. (So different from current weekends!)

    My life wouldn’t actually *be* very different than what it is now. It would just *feel* very different.

    Posted by Sara | June 11, 2008, 10:15 pm
  13. If I didn’t have to worry about money and also had a magical source of income my time would be spent doing the following:

    travel, volunteering, reading, crafting, learning to be a better cook, being outside, and keeping up with stuff around the house

    Posted by sara l | June 11, 2008, 11:43 pm
  14. I can, in all honesty, say that I’d be doing exactly what I’m doing now. The training program I’m in is intense, stressful, and draining, but the thought of spending the next two years teaching science in a public school one of the poorest and most educationally disadvantaged areas of the U.S. is exciting.(Not that I would have minded having a few weeks off, mind you.)

    Posted by E.C. | June 12, 2008, 2:03 am
  15. I don’t think I’d change much either in my life. I absolutely love being self-employed and yes, anyone can get to where they want. It just takes motivation.

    When you only have to work a few hours a day, its amazing how many hours you have to find things to do!

    Posted by Tom | June 12, 2008, 9:26 pm
  16. LOL! If I can visit England and observe you spending my untold millions, it’s a deal! Can I come over while the strawberries and Devonshire cream are in season?

    Posted by Funny about Money | June 13, 2008, 12:27 am
  17. I want to open a Tai Chi/Kung Fu center, as there are none in my area of the country. Even without unlimited funds, this is my dream.

    Posted by Scott | June 13, 2008, 1:10 pm
  18. That is a great question. I would go back to a part-time job I had a few years ago where I worked with Autistic children. I loved it. It was challenging, yet very rewarding, but it didn’t pay enough to sustain me as my “real” job.

    I would also travel more and spend more time with my aging grandparents and the rest of my family.

    Posted by Kristen | June 13, 2008, 3:29 pm
  19. @Sara:
    I think that having a different feeling life would be great.

    @sara l:
    Travel seems to be featuring near the top of quite a few lists.

    Sounds like you’ve already got things made. Good luck with the teaching, I’m sure you can make a difference.

    I’m not a fan of being self-employed but I can see how it can really work for some people. Glad to see that you like where you already are.

    @Funny About Money:
    You certainly can. In fact I had a Devonshire cream tea the other weekend when I was down there. I do hope you’re jealous ;)

    Knowing what you want to do is half the battle. Now all you’ve got to do is work out how to make it happen.

    It’s more than annoying when what you want to do doesn’t pay the bills. And I’m not sure that it’s a good thing that the idea of spending more time with my family didn’t occur to me. Oh, well.

    Posted by plonkee | June 13, 2008, 8:00 pm

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