It is always a concern, to those of us who like to fish, how to balance our lives so we can find more fishing time. I used to just fit in some wading for smallmouth before or after work during the week and get out during the weekend when possible. Then there were changes to my life that made it seem harder to find the time.
We all have to fit family time, work, and other activities into our lives. There is a constant flux to the demands of our time that causes us to redo our schedule, sometimes on a weekly basis and even daily when necessary. Let me just give you an overview of how I go about balancing my life so that I can hopefully help another person out.
In simpler times, I had a wonderful job where I worked Monday through Friday during the day. I would just fit in some quality fishing time before and/or after work and often on the weekends and holidays. Then, I got into the competitive side of bass fishing and started taking on sponsors and was blessed with becoming staff on a couple of fishing forums. No problem, I just fished a little less and devoted time to those new activities. Then there was a job change where I had a fluctuating schedule and had to work weekends and many holidays. This is when I had to start "scheduling" my time more efficiently.
For starters, you have to prioritize the activities. Sometimes you just have to say no to unproductive or non-profitable time abusers. These are two keys to start out your planning adventure. Once you have these things set in your mind, the rest flows a little easier and if you work it right you will be able to throw a few of those time abusers in when you have "spare" time. It is also a good idea to figure out the things that can fluctuate as to when you can do them and those that are static, or also known as have-to-do's. Let's add that as a third "key" you must know before planning your schedule. Your personal priorities will be your own but they may include spouse, kids, other family, church, work, etc.
Here is what I have settled on for my routine for organizing my time. I carry a small calendar that fits in my shirt pocket. The size of the calendar matters to me, so that I do not overbook myself on any given day and I can have it with me almost all the time. As I learn of things that I need to schedule, I check my calendar and write each item in on the date (in pencil). If I already have something penciled in, I write the new item in if there is a possibility I will be able to work both in on that day. There are times when I might leave one activity early to get to another one so I can actually do both. There are also times when a new item trumps the one I already have written in, I can erase whenever necessary but usually I leave most things in there in case of cancellation.
There are things we all know well ahead of time such as tournament schedules, work hours (for some, not me) and special events such as family birthdays and anniversaries. I write these things in as they become known to me and with my current job I can request days or certain hours off. Once things are in there, I can prioritize what items I will do. Sounds simple? Good. Hope this helps somebody out since it works well for me. If you have even more precise planning/scheduling needs then you might want to check into something more intense such as a Franklin Planner. Now you are talking ultra organization.
Blaise Johnston, aka "OHbassaholic", is a member of the UB senior staff and can be reached at OHBassaholic@ultimatebass.com.