Monday, January 16, 2012


"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
~Stephen R. Covey

I'm always amazed when I talk to people with hobbies. Whether it is golfing, making crafts, reading (for pleasure), or just about any other thing people do for no purpose other than the feeling they get from doing, I am always envious of hobbyists. It isn't that I necessarily want to do what they do; the fact is that many people's hobbies would bore the daylights out of me. No, the thing that paints me green is simply that they have a hobby. I've never really had what I would call a hobby. I've flirted with hobbies before, and there are a list of things that I would love to spend time doing, but I have to admit that I have always failed to establish something that I regularly do for enjoyment. Don't get me wrong, I do things for enjoyment, but not many of them are productive. I think hobbies should be productive. The problem I have is that by the time I'm done with all of the productive things I have to do on any given day, I don't have much left in the tank for something unnecessarily productive. Then, while doing something enjoyable but wholly unproductive- watching television- I had an epiphany.

I was watching a show called The Middle. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this program, it is a sitcom that centers on a family of five in rural Indiana. The parents both work, and the kids are a strangely familiar mix of people you may actually know. They live in a house that has clearly been decorated bit by bit over a couple of decades of not being able to afford an interior designer, and their dishwasher requires duct tape in order to work. In a sentence, it is a show about my family and quite a few families I know. It is refreshing to see a sitcom that I can relate to. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy shows about Naval Criminal Investigation Service agents and lovable physicists with a passion for all things nerdy, but I don't really connect with those characters. This connection to the characters in The Middle is the source of my epiphany. The mother, Frankie, comes to the realization in last week's episode that they spend so much time doing the unpleasant things they don't really want to do that they don't have time to the things they really do want to do. She references missing fun holiday events to do laundry and passing on birthdays and anniversaries in order to fulfill other menial household tasks. She realized her "To Do" list was out of whack. Her realization became my realization. My priorities are usually listed like this:

-Things I have to do.
-Things I really should do
-Fall asleep
-Dream about the things I'd really like to do
-Wake up

The fact is that I have a hobby. There are a couple of things that I really enjoy doing. In fact, I enjoy doing these two things so much, that I actually majored in it in college. I love to read books, and I love to write. The problem is that I put all of the things that are supposedly more important ahead of doing either of them as a hobby. Do I read? Sure. I read all of the time, but very little of it is based on enjoyment. I read emails, instructions, and homework assignments. Do I write? Absolutely. I write assignment instructions, emails, hall passes, and feedback on IEPprogress reports. I've spent the last couple of years lamenting the fact that I don't have time to read the books I'd like to read or write the things I'd like to write. I find pockets of time here and there, spread out over months of time for these activities, but I'd hardly call that a rewarding hobby. That is until that episode of The Middle when I realized that much like the characters on the screen, I've had my priorities out of whack. I need to start putting my hobbies higher on the list. It depresses me to look at my two blogs (this post appears on both) and realize that children born on the dates of my last posts are old enough to walk. I am resolving with this post to change that. I am resolving to put my hobbies closer to the top of the list. I am resolving to blog once a week (I require my Creative Writing students to do it, why shouldn't I allow myself to do it?) and read a novel a month (A pathetic goal for someone who used to read a novel in a day, but it takes baby steps).

Just to prove that this isn't an empty goal, I am writing this post with a stack of work sitting next to me. I have student work to grade, lesson plans to create, hundreds of pages of assigned reading and assignments from my grad classes, and laundry to fold, but I am taking the time to do something I want to do before I even touch the things I need to do, and I feel better about the day already.


  1. Well since you have been on us this past two weeks about our research papers, I can relate. It is my own problem that I procrastinated, but I realize yes I do need to be able to do a five page paper in couple months. Some people just get off subject and can't find the motivation to do so. I have a lack of motivation a lot of times. All I want to do ever is sleep. So this needs to change before I attend college in the fall.

  2. I really like that, that you really do love what you went to college for and still do it everyday. I would love for that to happen with me but I am still not sure what I want to do when I get older. It really inspires me when I see this, because not to many people now days actually like what they do at their job. It's just another job to them, to make money, and eventually retire one day. My goal this summer is to think of what I want to do as I get older and what I want to attend college for.

  3. I find it hard in my schedule now to do hobbies that I truly love to do. The real life is starting to kick in and it sucks! I don't have a social life unless I'm off work or don't have any homework. I barely get to see family because as I'm getting home from school, I have to get ready for work then leave.

  4. I believe that it is a good thing for everyone to have things that they enjoy doing. I am with you it would be great if we could have the time to do them more often, but also just like what you said we have things that are more important than them. Your classes and all my classes this year have put this into perspective for me and I thank you and all my other teachers teaching me this.

    Danny Allanson 1st

  5. I tend to have the same problem. I feel like i should be doing something but I usually dont do it, and it is mainly out of laziness.

  6. I have a really bad procrastination problem so I tend to wait untill the last minute to do things. When I have an assignment I first spend time doing whatever I feel like doing such as watching T.V. or playing games on the computer. After i've wasted a few hours wasting time I sit down and start my homework and then I usually feel like procrastinating after a paragraph or two. After aimlessly surf the internet its now 11 pm so its time to get my homework done. I make time for my hobbies in my schedule even when I shouldn't.

  7. I agree with what you said, I do things I like to do also but I first do things I need to do. I am responsible and prioritize very well, it just takes time to get the schedule complete.

    Lauren Swinford

  8. I procrastinate a little too often. I think that if I didn' put things off so much that my life would be less stressful. And now that school is done, my life has become a lot less stressful.
    -makenzie t

  9. I do have a problem with procrastination. I do this because I don't have the motivation to do my homework right then. I mainly wait until the last minute to do things. Whenever I do get a "head start" on my homework I feel less stressed.

  10. This is a really great post and I am really glad that I decided to read this one! This really came at just the right moment. I have spent my time today, during our snow day, doing things that I had to do or should have done, which is good, but didn't really spend much time doing what I really enjoy. This has made me realize, sometimes I just need to relax, stop stressing so much (because it really doesn't do anything for me), and take some time to do what I want to.
    -Faith Fox, 7th Hour

  11. Part of what I love doing is also part of my work. Part of my work is fostering dogs and I enjoy that so much. I do have a problem with procrasination and I need to learn how to overcome it.
    Kaytlin Tague 2nd Hour

  12. I tend to have problems with keeping my priorities straight and keeping myself motivated if im not succeeding in a certain work related situation.
    Lane Tessman 2nd Hour

  13. 3rd times a charm! Freaking thing keeps deleting my posts before I am able to even finish them. (So, copy and past is how I am trying it now.)
    Anyhow, as I had said before. Yes, getting your enjoyment in life is a necessity, otherwise what’s the point of even being alive? (Not saying kill yourself if you aren’t. Just saying, find a way to get enjoyment out of life.) Then comes the matter of holding strong to your priorities too. If you focus too much on the little enjoyments, you’ll lose track of your priorities. I’ve seen it happen many times over, though never personally experienced it. (Never had the money or desire to “get into” something.) So, just warning. Be careful at how far you go with the hobbies you choose. They are good at stealing the time required for your priorities.
    (Ha! I win you freaking post thing!!!)

  14. Sometimes it is pretty hard to keep your priorities straight because your first priority might not be as fun or interesting as maybe your other priorities or just doing what you want so you fall behind because you do not get your priorities done when they should be done. It is too easy to do.
    -Katie Maynard

  15. I don't have many hobbies but one of them is art. I may not be very good at it. No one can tell you are doing it wrong because you made it no one else did.

  16. I don't have many hobbies, but one big one is singing. I always make chorus and other chorus contest chances a priority. It is something I am passionate and love. I push myself constantly to become a better musician each and every day.

  17. I don't have many hobbies, but one big one is singing. I always make chorus and other chorus contest chances a priority. It is something I am passionate and love. I push myself constantly to become a better musician each and every day.