Friday, February 03, 2017

7 to 1

In a few weeks I'll be heading to the county quilt show I attend every year, so I'm making a new crazy quilt tote to take with me. This is mostly for fun, but also to show my sewing sisters that I'm not all work and no play.

I have been all about the work these last few months. Along with the new copy writing job, I've been immersed in a big project nearly every day since October of 2016. I'm finally at the finish line, too (I should cross it some time tonight.) This is the largest and longest ghost writing job I've worked on since I went freelance, and it's taught me quite a bit. What I'll take away from it -- aside from the very nice paycheck -- will help me improve my scheduling, how I juggle my work sessions with home life, and how much time I devote to things other than writing.

How much time you work and play often determines how successful you are, but it can also affect how happy you are in general. My most productive ratio seems to be seven to one, or one hour of play for every seven hours of work. I learned a long time ago that if I spend my entire day working (this includes housework as well as writing) I go to bed feeling exhausted and creatively drained. The flip side is just as If I blow off work and play all day I am swamped by guilt and worry over the work I'm neglecting, plus I can't sleep.

Finding my optimum ratio was actually a by-product of my plan to hand-make all my Christmas presents last year. For five months I devoted at least one hour a night to my gift projects, all of which were fun for me. I then noticed how much better I felt in the morning when I went to work. I started tracking my work/play hours along with my mood in my personal journal, and settled on seven to one as the ideal balance.

To find your happiest work/play ratio, here's the process I used:

1. Track the time you normally devote to work (things you have to do for income and/or family) and play (things you want to do for fun) for one week. Be honest, too, because inflating or deflating the hours spent won't give you a real picture of how you're spending your time. Mark the days when you felt at your best and most productive.

2. Take the work/play ratio from the day you felt at your best during the first week, and use them every other day during the next week. Again, mark the most productive days.

3. For the third week, take all your best day ratios and come up with an average, and use that ratio every other day. Keep tracking your best days.

4. Take the ratios from your best days during the third week, average them again, and use that ratio every day for a week.

You can keep doing this until your average ratio figure stabilizes, but after a month you should have a pretty good idea of what your best work/play ratio is.


  1. I never considered a ratio. I can't even imagine what mine would be because I multitask far too much. :)

    Hope to see some pictures from the show when you get back.

    I think about you every time I come across an interesting piece of fabric. I wish we lived closer.

  2. The more complex the mind, the greater the need for the simplicity of play.
    ... Kirk, "Shore Leave," stardate 3025.8..

  3. These are some great ideas! I have also found that I can neither spend all my time working nor all my time playing to be my best me, but I've never thought about determining a breakdown of the ideal ratio. This requires more thought... thanks for the idea!


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