Episode # 2 – Finding More Time to Woodwork


Episode # 2 – Finding More Time to Woodwork

5 Simple things you can do to find more time to Woodwork

In past couple weeks, I have been telling everyone I know about my new podcast and how excited I am about it.  There were several that told me how much they enjoy woodworking, but feel like they don’t have time to do it.  A couple even commented on the quality tools they have for woodworking that just seem to be collecting dust in the basement.  One person even had a $3,000 Sawstop sitting in their basement still in the box!

So several people asked me how I have time to woodwork in addition to all the other things I am involved in.  This really got me thinking, because I do have a lot on my plate.  For example:

  • Co-owner in a law firm with a total of 12 lawyers.  A slow week at the firm for me is 60 hours.  Some weeks it can go up to as many as 80 hours.  The reason for so many hours is that, in addition to handling my case load and the legal work associated with that, I am also handling a portion of the marketing, administration, and management of the firm.
  • I am fairly active in Cub Scouts.  In addition to being responsible for a couple large events in our Pack (cub-mobile and the Christmas parade), I am the Den leader for my oldest son’s den and co-den leader for my youngest son’s den.  Now, I do have some fantastic support from the parents and other leaders in our Pack, so I am by no means 100% responsible for all the prep work for my dens.
  • In the past couple weeks, I have
    • Gone with the family for a day at a farm to pick strawberries with the family;
    • Made a walking stick for our cubmaster for an end of the year project;
    • Built a stool for my mother for Mother’s Day;
    • Set up my shop for my oldest son’s den to come by and build bird houses to give to their mothers for Mother’s Day;
    • Turned three pens for the teachers at my youngest son’s school;
    • Dealt with 4 trials (two were slated for two days), had a mediation and a judicially hosted settlement conference.  A day long trial can often involve several days of preparation and the trial day itself can usually take up 12 to 14 hours in my day.  Now, I do have a great team of lawyers and paralegals I work with that help me prepare for trial, so it is not all me.  But, that team was not by accident.  I did assemble and helped to train the team;
    • Attended a church event with the family on one of the weekends;
    • Hosted a small group at our house once a week (which involves the reading of and discussing a couple chapters of a book a week).  And, participated in a weekly Bible study; and
    • Recorded this podcast,
  • That is just to list a few things I have done.
  • Depending on the season, the number of items on my plate can vary.  For example, Christmas and Halloween.

With all this in mind, I asked myself, how do I find time to woodwork?  After thinking about what I do to find time to woodwork, I came up with the 5 simple things I do to make sure I have time to woodwork:

1)  Be intentional with your week.

Turn off the TV.  Decide what you are going to do with your weekdays and upcoming weekends

If you must watch TV, set it up in the basement.  Use technology or services – Hulu and Netflcks

2)  Get ideas out of your head and onto paper or in the cloud.

Paper note book

Evernote – putting your thoughts into the cloud with your phone, ipad, computer

Dropbox – Put your notes on paper and then scan them in for access later

3)  Organize your shop so you know where everything is.

So many times, you get into your shop and you spend half your time looking for something.  During the week, spend 30 minutes a day to organize everything.  If you have been intentional with your week, you don’t stay up watching that TV show that really added nothing to your life.

4)  Keep your work area clean during the week so you can get busy on the weekend.  Often, when I work on the weekend, I do not clean up after myself right away.  I clean up during the week.  A little every day.  That way, on the weekend, I am 100% focused on the project itself.

5)  Organize your projects into priorities

  • That way, when you get into your shop, you are ready to hit the ball running.
  • Talk to Wife about what items she would like to see first.
  • Don’t waste time in the shop thinking about what you are going to do.
  • Going back to being intentional with your week, be intentional with your projects – know what is coming up – Plan out what you going to do which weekend being mindful of your family plans.
  • Balance between your shop projects and your actual woodworking projects.

Natural consequence of this – you become more excited about your projects.  This starts to feed on itself.  You start getting up early in the morning before the kids get up to take care of one part of the project.  Then you finish that cool project.  You see the results of your hard work, hear those positive comments from friends and family, and can’t wait for the next project.  This ethusiasm gives you the energy to jump on the next item on your project list.

I do want to say, that what helps all those above work is that I have an amazing wife.  During the week, she takes care of certain things for me and our children.  If I were a single dad, I would still be able to woodwork, but I would no doubt not be able to do nearly as much.


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4 thoughts on “Episode # 2 – Finding More Time to Woodwork

  1. I listened to this episode and you have some really great suggestions. At first I was skeptical. I have a full time job and I’m married with 4 children and it is really hard to find time to do any woodworking. But I’m going to try to be more intentional with my time. One idea I have to add to your list of things is to get all of the chores and honey-do list items done during the week so that you don’t get called on to do any of them on the weekend. I look forward to seeing where your blog and podcast will go in the future.

  2. Great thoughts on finding time. I wrote about this a fair bit a while back regarding how you can plan out your project and go so far as to create running lists of task. You can check that out on my site and if you really want to go down the rabbit hole there is a link there to goes back even further to an audio podcast I did on the subject in 2009. Keep up the great shows Leh.

    • Thanks for the additional information and sharing! Great stuff. I guess I had not gone back that far in your website before because that was back when you had all your powertools. I winced when I got to the page that had the picture of your kickback injury because it brought back memories of a similar incident I had about 2 years ago that involved a 1/4 inch piece of plywood. I had the blade too low on my saw and when I let go of the plywood it caught on the low blade and spun back into my stomach, actually cutting me. To make matters worse, my padding caused it to bounce back into the blade and hit me a 2nd time! Fortunately, I did not need stiches, but my pride was seriously damaged. It was embarassing at the time, but now I laugh about it.