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How to get more time to do the things you love.

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

Years ago, I read a book about minimalism and was instantly drawn to the stories of these people who lived in either tiny houses or had little amount of possessions.

I first thought of a good mate who Kel and I grew up with. Back then, he lived a lifestyle where he had his car, a few possessions, and a small bit of furniture in a rented house, and in his spare time, he would travel the world and do whatever the fuck he liked.

After falling down rabbit hole after rabbit hole, trying to get my head around what seemed like some sort of cult-like living, it still took a couple of years for it to really sink in that it may have some truth to the idea, that cleaning out your closet, so to speak, will not only free up some space around you, but also time...

Time is something we wish we had more of, but I do think we get enough time, it's just how well you manage the time you have and use that time to do things that make you happy. Most people, surprisingly, take time for granted and don't really get down into the dm's that it truly is the most precious thing each of us is given. We cannot purchase more of it and once it is gone, it stays gone, and all we have left behind is the memories, skills, and experiences.

Easier said than done hey? Well, you're exactly right. To get more time, you really have to dig deep into your life, and once you get to the bottom keep digging.

I actually wrote down a list, which I wish I kept, and it was through Kel's cancer treatment in early 2020 I started jotting it all down. This list I wrote down everything that took up my time, from driving to work to mowing the lawns and even cooking dinner. There were hundreds of items on that list. And from that list, I started breaking it all down and giving each item a kind of weird code, I guess. A 1 was something I loved to do and a 10 was something that was just pure shit that I hated doing. Then every item I gave a letter on how long that item took from my week. An A was not much time at all say a few minutes and a J was hours long.

The list took me a few months to tune in and I went back and forth on most items, justifying a rating even on the smallest issue. It was pretty much all written while thinking on the throne and I was constantly changing items around the more I dug that hole. One thing was an obvious 10J - can you pick it? It's a thing that most of us do for most of our lives and for the majority of us, if it wasn't giving us that financial kickback, we would never do it... yep, you guessed it - your Job.

Yeah, my daily job stuck out like dogs balls because as much as I tried to work it and cook the books on my own rating system, it still came out the arse end of my list. Don't get me wrong, I love to work, keep busy, and grease those elbows in some of the harshest conditions and places on earth. But it was the elephant in the room and from there on I had to start to devise a plan on how I could change that 10J to say at least an 5E!

Through the midst of all this, Kelly was fighting an epic battle with breast cancer, At the same time, Covid had hit our shores, so this was the ultimate kick in the arse to click it up a few gears and work this all out. There is no better motivation than to stare at the love of your life while she goes through chemo and be totally helpless other than to hold her hand. So I would spend many days after Kel's treatment while she lay resting and recovering, wondering through the list and trying to figure out a way that we could simply spend more time together and do the things we love.

We love to travel, it has been a part of our lives since we were teenagers. I won't go into the history of our traveling here, but we realized we could reduce our full-time work by at least half, and we could still keep our heads above water financially. But to do this, some sacrifices had to be made and a solid plan had to be formed.

So the process started to figure out what would be the best situation for only working half the year, what else can we do to free up more time, and what makes us happy. The plan even before Kel was diagnosed was to eventually travel in the old van, we just hadn't set a time frame with that, so we decided that we would quit our jobs on a certain date and officially live as Semi-Retired Nomads.

We flicked back and forth between two options with the house we owned to either keep it vacant and be something we go back to when we are south or sell up everything and rent it out. If money wasn't an issue, we would have left it vacant but financially it wasn't viable. We decided to rent our house out and sell or give away almost all of our possessions. If you're still reading to this point this is a bit of advice everyone who's even slightly considering our style of life should really soak in - getting rid of all the crap we had accumulated over the years was an absolute life-changing experience! Might sound like bullshit but it is the truth. It did take its time over a few months, to get in the groove but little by little, we went through absolutely everything we owned and put it in piles of needs, nice to haves and don't needs, and then we would constantly go back through the needs pile to cull again and again.

What we realized over the months of going through this process is the items we were getting rid of were helping me to scrub more items off my original list. Things like mowing the lawn, cleaning, and maintaining the house would all be a thing of the past. There were other things that took up my time that I would have to sacrifice like gaming and gardening. Yep, I loved a bit of ole Call of Duty with the fellas and this would take up about 6hrs a week. Gardening would also take up about the same amount of time and although it is something I love to do and also miss doing, getting rid of this had freed up a large chunk of my week out of work time.

Almost everything we own, we carry with us.

Some people may be hearing these words for the first time and never really put much thought into it. If you like lots of stuff, that is totally fine and each to their own. But if you feel like you never have enough time to do the things you really enjoy, I can almost guarantee one of the issues you have is all the "stuff" in your life holding you down. Now stuff is not only a physical thing but can also be something you do. For example, as I write this, in our lives, we have the least number of possessions out of anyone I know but we have never been so busy! It may seem like I've skipped forward a bit there, but we fill our time these days with more stuff we want to do rather than more stuff we have to do.

So, getting back to what I was saying is that when it came close to our "pull the pin" date we realized our mindset had totally changed (probably mine more than Kel's at the time). I had become absolutely brutal in keeping possessions because we now had a clear path in front of us, so it was easy to look at an item and ask myself "Do I need this to travel"? I did keep a lot of my tooling and extra camping gear but in the end, the only furniture we kept was a bed and a coffee table that I had made myself, some paperwork and documents along with some trinkets and treasures and that was it. It was all loaded into a 20-foot sea container which is at a mate's farm and from that day on whenever we are south, we still find ways to empty the container little by little. Eventually, we'd like to have no container at all, which is still crazy to think that now, almost all of our whole life's possessions are fully mobile as we trek around.

One thing I want to touch on before I conclude this, and please don't think of this as being judgy, but when I talk to family and friends about this from time to time, a lot of them say how they never have enough time or say they'd like to travel more. So when I step back as an outsider looking in, I can almost always look at each individual and have ideas or suggestions about how they can turn things around in their favour.

To wrap this up, I just want to say I'm well aware that what we did and do now in terms of becoming minimalists is pretty full on and not for everyone, though if you're sitting on the fence thinking this could be a journey for you then go for it! Also, if you want some help or guidance, feel free to reach out; we'd be happy to help.

Find what's important in your life, what makes you happy, and get rid of the shit that doesn't.

Team Jelly.


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