Alan's Blog




No Time? No Energy? I'll Tell You Why.

Have you ever wondered how it is that many people seem to have the time and energy to do whatever they want to in life? It's always been something of a mystery to me how this is possible for some and not others.

Since I completed my last contract, I seem to have spent a great deal of my time and energy doing jobs which, although necessary, are hardly inspiring – and certainly not what I really ­want to do with my life. I spend hours every day dealing with laundry, dishwashing, looking after our dog, shopping, food, paying bills and doing administrative and other domestic tasks. All of these tasks take huge amounts of both time and energy, which means that I have little time and energy left for enjoying life, which, at my age (73), is rather important seeing as I might not have the time and health to enjoy life for much longer.

I well remember reading a manual about a particular piece of computer software some years ago. This manual was about 1300 pages, so not exactly a quick job to put together. The author was a young lady who'd got more computer qualifications than I knew existed, was a professor at a university, amongst other jobs, and she was married with three children and had a Labrador dog. She'd also written several other computer software manuals and all this before she was aged in her mid-thirties! How is that possible? As a professional writer myself, I know just how much time, energy and effort goes into dealing with a project like a computer software manual so I have great admiration for people who write them. But what about the rest of their life? How could she achieve so much whilst also raising a family?

Imagine, if you can, just how your life would be if you didn't have to do anything other than enjoy your life – doing exactly what you wanted to without any distractions that our 'normal' day-to-day life brings along. Wouldn't that be wonderful. This is how many wealthy people can live their lives and why those who want to focus on, say, writing computer manuals, can do so. It means that they can concentrate on their chosen activity, and focus their energy in that direction, for as many hours in a day as they choose. That is how they achieve so much more than us ordinary mortals who have so many other tasks do get through before we can even think of anything else.

So, how do they do it?

Staff. They engage people to do all the mundane jobs as well as assist them in their various other endeavours.

An example of this is Sir Winston Churchill who, apart from being a great leader of our country, was also a prolific writer. So how did he manage to write so many books, for which he was extremely well paid (and needed to be to afford his lifestyle!)? Just for his writing business and nothing to do with other parts of his life, he had a team of typists working shifts throughout the 24 hours in a day, as well as a team of researchers running around finding out the information he needed to include in his books. He also never needed to attend to any domestic and administrative duties as he had other staff who did everything else for him. So, he could concentrate solely on the writing task of the day, every day. Life is, in many ways, so much simpler and more effective if you are able to focus on the main task in hand for all the hours it takes to get the job completed.

When I was an officer in the Merchant Navy I used to work, on average, about 80 hours per week for months at a time. This is something very few could achieve in 'normal' life. I was there to do my job regardless of the hours I worked. However, that was really all I had to do. There was a team of people taking care of my other needs, such as food and cleaning. All I had to do in order to eat was just that – eat! Choose whatever I wanted from the menu and eat it. It was even served to me by a steward, who would also keep my cabin clean. No other distractions to keep me from doing my job. It was the only way I could work those sort of hours (100 hours one week that I remember!) and still remain in a good state of health.

Just imagine being able to live life as you'd like to without all the distractions we have in our normal lives. How would you like to be able to concentrate on your particular passion in life for an unlimited number of hours without distraction? More importantly perhaps; what would you achieve? Something worthwhile, that's for sure.

I had a taste of this when we lived in the Philippines for a couple of years before coming to the UK. I wasn't working and we engaged a nanny/house-girl to take care of JP who was aged 6 to 8 during that time. She would also attend to many of the domestic duties too. I could concentrate on enjoying my photography and writing as well as being able to walk to the beach or eat in nearby restaurants. If Grace and I needed to go anywhere without JP we could leave him in the care of our helper. Sometimes we'd all go out together where having an extra pair of hands to take care of JP, as well as doing other jobs, made life so much easier and more pleasurable than it would have been otherwise.

Dealing with the children in a family can be a huge task and a big distraction when it comes to enjoying your life. This is why wealthy people engage nannies and domestic staff – and why they send their children to boarding school (apart from the educational benefits).

Of course, leaving the Philippines in 2008 and coming to live in the UK meant that we had to give-up that way of life and the freedom it gave us. It also meant that I had to get back into working again in order to survive financially – and Grace works too. No, this definitely isn't the way of life I really want to live, even though I'm not currently working, and living in this appalling climate isn't doing me any good at all either.

At least I know the answer to how some people manage to do so much and achieve so much in their chosen way of life. I wish………..

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