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Time to Get Things Back on Track with the Disappearance of Summer Time-Takers

September 12, 2012

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In my August Self-Sufficiency Summary I made reference to the fact that it had been a less than productive month for me.

Last year I dedicated an entire article to the fact that I often find myself feeling disconnected from and disinterested in my hobby.  This summer I have once again found myself a little less committed to everything that comes with collecting, buying, selling, and trading than I usually am.

There are a number of reasons for this, most notably the following things that seem to eat into the time I spend on my hobby in the non-summer months:


I’ve been doing triathlons on and off since I was 17 or 18 (the off years caused by my job and its associated commute).  After a successful result in the lone race I did last summer, I decided to get back into it a little more seriously this year.

But doing so means dedicating a lot of time to training.  Since this was an activity being added to my existing schedule, obviously that training time needed to be taken from time I usually dedicate to something else. 

I found that first thing in the morning – the same time I try to limit my hobby related activities to – was the best time for it since the days hadn’t become blazing-hot at that point and traffic was almost non-existent, which made for much safer training runs and rides on my bike.

With my racing season now over I’m transitioning (intentional triathlon pun) into a lighter training load, with much less of it taking place in the mornings, meaning more .

Weddings…and everything that comes with them

My summer has been absolutely insane this year when it comes to events I’ve had to attend.  From the May long-weekend through to the end of this one, I will have had just four weekends spent solely at home with nothing else going on.  The bulk of those weekends have been occupied with friends’ weddings and the obligatory buck & doe and bachelor parties that come with them. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining one bit about any of that.  I’ve had a ton of fun this summer because of all of those events, but the reality is that they have also been a complete drain on my ability to get things done around the house and on my hobby.  Thankfully, my schedule looks to be clearing somewhat in the not too distant future.

My Summer Lunchroom

There is precious little in terms of options for eating out near my rural Ontario office (closest cities are 15 minutes in either direction) so I almost always brown bag it.

In the cooler weather I just stay at the building and eat in the lunch room, giving me an hour of personal time that I often use to catch up on “business” related bookkeeping or to type out upcoming blog posts.

But when the warm weather this is what I choose to make my lunchroom:

With two awesome waterfront options to relax at within a 7 minute drive, I simply can’t justify sitting in a boring old office building lunchroom all summer long.  My laptop is less than impressive under natural light (translation: I can’t see the screen through the glare), so the bulk of my lunches end up being spent reading.

It’s a great way to escape the office and unwind for an hour or so, but when I do this almost every workday from June through September using hours I had put towards my hobby the other eight months of the year, it really starts to add up.

The Absence of My Wife’s Routine

I am very much a creature of habit, with a daily routine that keeps all of the things I have going on in my life organized and on track.  I make small modifications here and there to accommodate new things (i.e. increasing my triathlon training), but rarely find myself pressed for time to complete everything that I want to get done.

That is, until July and August hit.  Naturally, my routine blends with that of my wife’s and for ten months of the year it works perfectly.  But my wife is a teacher and her daily routine changes dramatically in the summer months and with that so does my own. 

You’d think this would give me more time to focus on my hobby in the mornings.  Instead the opposite happens in these months.  Without my usual timelines in place I find it very difficult to maintain my focus, often wasting time on things totally unrelated to my hobby. 

With school back in session as of last week I can already see things shifting back to a more productive place, something I’ll need to continue in the months to come.

The Lack of Hockey

Of course one of the biggest things that takes my attention away from my hobby is the fact that hockey is not front of mind in the summer. 

This happens every single year, though all the labour relations talk this summer has at least kept things closer to the front burner for me than in years past. 

With a deadline looming on that front and at least the potential of hockey starting up again soon, at least there’s something going on to keep me in tune with the primary focus of my hobby.


With all of the things outlined about above finally starting to wind down or no longer present themselves as a hobby-time eating issue, I’m finding myself really eager to get to back to a normal workload when it comes to my cards and memorabilia obsession.

Recognizing and documenting what it is that seems to be taking time away from my hobby will also allow me to better prepare for how to approach these things and adjust my schedule when they come back into the picture in what I’m sure will feel like just a few short months.


How do you regain your focus after having things thrown off the rails for even a little while?  Do you have any tips or tricks for managing your time effectively that you can pass along?

Post a comment, email me at, or get in touch on Facebook and Twitter.

Until Sunday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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