What can you do in 2 hours per week?

I spent two hours per week working on this site. What can you do in that about of time?

One of the most common questions I get about this blog besides “why??” and “are you a robot?” is “how long does it take?”

The answer is 2 hours per Earth-week.

I have an item in my calendar for every Sunday morning, 10am-12. I spend the 2nd hour writing a new draft and scheduling it for the Monday in 8 days time. I spend the first hour reading the draft from the previous week, going “noooooo!” and re-writing it. Then I do some polish, insert some stupid photos or tweets and release it like that curling guy letting go of his rock, knowing it’ll smash into something else very soon.

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 10.49.45 AM

If it doesn’t take the full two hours, I will work on my will-be-done-eventually custom theme, brainstorm ideas, or tweak WordPress’ nips.

(This blog is not set up the way I would eventually want it, but I only have two hours per week. It’ll get there.)

In return for the two hours I dedicate to this project, I get therapy, I get my thoughts out of my head, I get practice writing, I get another communication channel with my friends and family, and I get a place to vomit out my thoughts without having to buy a friend a beer in exchange for his obligation to sit there and listen. You can leave any time you like.

I’ve created a thing and I like it.

So my question to you is this: what can you make in two hours per week?

Consistency wins

You’ve probably heard advice that says we tend to underestimate what we can do over a long period of time, and we overestimate what we can do in a short time.

“I’ll clean and organize my whole house tonight!” vs “I’ll clean and organize my house a little bit now and a little bit more every day for a while until it’s done.”

It comes up on the internet a lot (at least where I hang out) and looks something like this:

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It’s one of the few motivational sayings I actually find helpful in thought re-framing.

Then there’s that thing where the best time to do something is in the past, but the 2nd best time is now. Usually it revolves around trees:

It's probably a Chinese proverb the way fortune cookies are Chinese.
It’s probably a Chinese proverb the way fortune cookies are Chinese.

Motivational tropes aside, two hours is nothing in the span of a week. Everyone can carve out two hours and dedicate it to a new project. I like the two-hour constraint because when I start something new I get very excited and dive in with both feet or hands or whatever that expression is (I don’t know how to swim) but very soon I can burn out or lose excitement.

As in the bedroom of a submissive, the constraint keeps the excitement up.

For example, on a Wednesday night I might have a great idea and want to drop what I’m doing and want to write about it immediately, but it’s not time. So I get excited about Sunday morning. And that anticipation keeps the momentum going consistently.

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep this blog going but I hope it’ll be a while. And when I stop, I’ll say to myself, “oh, really, you don’t have two hours a week to spare? What are you, an Avenger?” Hell, even the Avenger movies are more than two hours.

(If we’re playing Avengers, I call Hawkeye.)

So … what have you always wanted to start?

Choose something personally meaningful, not a gotta-be-done

I propose you find two hours and find something you’ve always wanted to do and fill those two hours each week and see what happens.

And then after a bit msg me and tell me what you chose and how it’s going.

When choosing, though, I would steer you towards something that is meaningful to you, and not have a concrete goal in mind. It’s the difference between “Spend two hours a week practicing magic.” vs “Spend two hours a week becoming a magician so I can quit my job as a sewer system inspector.”

Let any accomplishments flow naturally, so to speak.

(Also If you don’t want to be a sewer inspector anymore, put a hell of a lot more than 2 hours per week into it and also thank you for your service because I’m a huge fan of indoor plumbing and all the people it takes to keep it operating.)

Some ideas

Of course I’m not just going to drop a challenge and run away without giving you a hand. So here’s a list of all the 2-hour ideas I could come up with before my time for this post ran out:

  1. Start a blog (easy one)
  2. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Hang up at exactly the two-hour mark.
  3. Work on your garden
  4. Undo the work your neighbours have done on their gardens
  5. Make a scrapbook for all your selfies
  6. Explain to me why people like Instagram
  7. Learn the basics of different languages (start with Duolingo – be my friend!)
  8. Practice a musical instrument that nobody you know plays. (e.g. be the coolest oboe-playing badness in the Municipal Waste Management Dept.)
  9. Eat cookies. No one said this had to be good for you.
  10. Run!
  11. Buy a gun and shoot things
  12. Buy a camera and shoot things
  13. Make your home something-proof, where the something changes all the time. Baby-proof, burglar-proof, waterproof, soundproof, fire-proof.
  14. Try to understand grammar rules (Try to understand – grammar rules!)
  15. Read books (a novel idea)
  16. Write letters to people or companies who have right and/or wronged you
  17. Get a bike, ride as far from your house in a hour as you can then turn around and come back. Try to get further each time. Watch your legs become massive beasts of burden and your pants become tighter.
  18. Steal a car and drive until you have 5 stars
  19. Bother astronauts
  20. Become “handy” – learn to fix things and / or give good HJs
  21. Seriously, why do people like Instagram?
  22. Volunteer at a place that doesn’t know you’re volunteering. Like, go to a supermarket and start cleaning any messy shelves and helping people find stuff. See if you can last two hours before you get kicked out.
  23. Go to a gym and just sit there. Staring. (Bonus: combine with #9)
  24. Learn to computer better
  25. Learn to word more good
  26. Fix drawers. I don’t know what it is about drawers but no home has drawers that can’t be improved.
  27. Sell shit on eBay or Esty. Start with your own shit, then your partner’s shit, then your roommates’ shit, then steal your neighbours’ shit, then maybe at some point you can buy or make shit to sell.
  28. Murder

Time’s up. Probably don’t pick that last one, k?


Man, I’m totally obsessed with this song right now

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