In January 2020, I spent a lot of time considering and negotiating a proper part-time arrangement for myself. Thankfully, my proposal was approved, and I started working part time from February onwards.
Although I still don’t enjoy the nature of my job, and quitting still crosses my mind on bad days, I’m very thankful for the fact that I can:
- Work just 3 days a week in an office job; and
- Work from home.
Time Flies When You’re Contented
Last year, in 2019, I pushed myself to endure 70 hours a week of corporate work, side hustling, and commuting. Sometimes, this would extend to 75, or even 80 hours. As a result, I was miserable.
Time seemed to crawl, and I found myself constantly wishing that time would pass faster.
I even had to resort to little rituals of crossing out days on my calendars and counting down the days to the end of the year.
This is a 100-Yen (US$1) calendar that I bought from Daiso Japan. It made my year a lot less miserable.
I admit that I had 3 different calendars to cross out days with – one at home, one at my office, and one on my laptop. (Crossing out the days just felt that good. Sometimes it felt like the only good moment of my day.)
Looking back, I realise that this was extremely silly, but I’m grateful for having learnt that lesson.
Now, in 2020, time seems to fly. The combination of a 3-day corporate workweek and the work from home arrangement has put me in a pretty awesome position – I get to spend a lot of time writing about things I love, while not having to worry about how to pay my monthly bills.
These days, I actually look forward to starting my mornings off with a little writing.
And even when I have bad workdays, I take comfort in the fact that I don’t have a long way to go before the weekend arrives. It’s great, really.
The only problem with time passing so quickly is that I don’t have enough time each day to get what I want done. For example, I planned to do these regular “Part-Time Work” updates every 2 months, but it’s already been more than 5 months and I’m barely getting started on my first.
So, Where Did All My Time Go?
Work (Part-Time Office Job and Side Hustling)
I still lose a lot of time each week to my office job and my tutoring side hustling. On an average week, I can expect to work anywhere between 30 to 40 hours a week. Although this doesn’t seem little, it’s still a lot less than I used to work.
I don’t enjoy my office job and tutoring, but I’m still holding onto them for this year. If I lose one of my active sources of income, I still have the other to make ends meet.
Passion Projects (Music and Languages)
When I first moved from full-time to part-time work, I imagined having boatloads of time to work on all my passion projects. I had dreamt of using the majority of my time to work on my writing, while spending some time on other projects like music and language studies.
Well, 5 months have gone by and I haven’t had the time to even touch my drum set or my Japanese language studies books. I do take about 5-10 minutes a day to learn Mandarin on Duolingo, but it feels so negligible.
This was me in Japan, shopping and researching for JLPT (Japanese-Language Proficiency Test) books. I bought them and still haven’t used them.
Passion Projects (Writing)
The good news is that by focusing on just 1 passion project (writing) and putting the rest on hold for a little while, I’ve somewhat progressed quite a bit in my writing.
I’m most proud of the fact that I actually sat my ass down to write an entire 269-page eBook. Even though I didn’t sell it for a profit, nor did I ever intend to, the fact that I did it shows me that I can do anything I set my mind to. What’s more exciting is that this eBook has even helped a few people, which really means a lot to me.
I’m also extremely happy about the fact that writing has started coming more naturally to me. When I first started writing again, I really struggled. My mind couldn’t really string together cohesive paragraphs, and I was constantly hyperactive. Now, on the other hand, I can’t imagine not writing for at least 1 hour in the mornings. It’s one of the best parts of my day.
Spending Time with Loved Ones
A major change between 2019 and 2020 is that I get to spend more time with loved ones now. At the beginning of the year, I managed to spend more time with my girlfriend. We had a blast cooking, eating out, and visiting cool places like Universal Studios Singapore.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 happened, which resulted in a lockdown and then subsequent easing of measures (but still with restrictions in place). It’s been a bit hard to spend a lot of time with her apart from Skyping and gaming together (as we don’t live together). Although this is fun, it can’t replace physical interaction and making new memories together. Hopefully though, this might change in the near future.
On the bright side, I have been able to spend lots of time with my family, especially my siblings. We’ve been watching lots of TV shows and movies, and playing lots of Nintendo Switch.
We’ve already beat almost all the levels on Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros, Kirby Star Allies, Super Mario Party, and Overcooked. No thanks to me, of course (I’m a terrible gamer), but it’s still a fun time.
I honestly don’t know how much time I have left with my family (if my parents react badly to me moving out, they might cut off contact with me), so I try not to take any of it for granted.
A Brief Summary
Although my life hasn’t changed too much since 2019, choosing to earn less in 2020 has seen a marked improvement in my level of happiness. I’ve gotten rid of some of the things that I hate the most:
- Too much unfulfilling work;
- Commuting; and
- Office politics.
And I’ve replaced them with the things that make me happy:
- Spending time with loved ones; and
Going Forward: July to December 2020
While there are plenty of other passion projects that I would love to pursue in my lifetime, I don’t think I can get much done other than writing for the rest of the year.
Apart from this blog, I’ve also recently decided to start a separate niche site. So these 2 sites already take up a lot of my time (especially because I’m not quite proficient at writing and blogging). I am looking forward to seeing where I could go from here by the end of the year.
In addition, I still plan to spend time with loved ones, and I don’t plan to quit my job yet.
As far as I can see, the rest of the year isn’t going to change much.
And honestly, I’m happy with that.
How was your first half of 2020?
As always, thank you for reading and supporting this blog.
Good for you! With your finances taken care of you sound like you are making the most of your time and enjoying it! Rona aside, of course. My first half of 2020 is SO MUCH BETTER than all of 2019. Between the career change and the new writing endeavor, this year has exponentially improved how I feel and has increased my drive and motivation. It helps that I am reading great posts from super inspiring people like you everyday!
Thank you so much, BuLL! Yup definitely, I’m trying to make the most out of this year despite everything crazy that’s happening in the world 🙂 I’m so glad to hear that your year has been so much better too! Things are definitely looking up for us 🙂 I think that our situations sound very similar (career change + writing), and honestly I’m really encouraged and inspired by you as well. Looking forward to more updates on your blog 🙂
How are you doing with Duolingo Mandarin? I have been doing it since late last year and am probably 60% of the way through the lessons. It is definitely getting harder for me, but I am also noticing I can pick up more words in conversations that Dragon Gal has with her parents. I don’t think I will ever really remember what the characters look like, tough! That’s too advanced at this point!
Hi DGuy! Thanks for taking the time to stop by. 🙂 I’m not doing very well with Duolingo Mandarin actually. I complete only 1 exercise for the 10XP points per day to keep my streak! So basically I do only the bare minimum, unfortunately. I’m currently at the Level 2 lessons, which are still easy for me, and takes me only like 1-2 minutes to complete each exercise. I’ll probably struggle as I move on to more advanced levels for sure though!
I’m glad to hear that you can start picking up more words in conversations, that’s really admirable 🙂 Don’t worry about the characters, they’ll come naturally to you as more time passes. Just wanted to ask – did you study Mandarin when you were younger? (I actually did, because in Singapore we’re all forced to learn a second language when young. I didn’t take it seriously though, which is a regret of mine.)