Woodworking during the week


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For those that have a full-time job, and have woodworking as a hobby when do you find the time?  Weekends are the easy answer, but how about sneaking in an hour or two a day during the week.

 

I've tried going straight to the shop after work and that worked for a while, but lately after fighting traffic, I just haven't had the energy.  I was thinking about going into work later, and going into the shop in the morning.  Does anyone woodwork before work?

 

Tips for staying energized enough and getting into the shop after a long day?

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Usually after work and work as late as I need to before going to bed, being single offers a lot of freedom in that regard ;)

 

When it comes to finishing, I might visit in the morning to put a coat on and do another after I get home at night. I live very close to my work, so occasionally I'll zip in during lunch if I'm not doing anything and need another coat or whatever done.

 

The only real pain about doing it during the week is during the winter and if I need to cut or do anything outdoors. Aside from lunch, daylight isn't on my side until the weekend.

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During the week, I find I can get some good shop time after getting home from work - but not right away. Especially if you have young children, the time between getting home from work and their bed time is pretty short. I find that getting home, eating dinner of some type, and helping out with kids homework etc is a good way to get me completely out of my day job mindset. Then, once the kids are in bed and the house has quieted down, I can get in at least a few hours of shop time. I'm fortunate enough that I can work in my basement shop and most of the time the noise doesn't reach them on the second floor.

A few times, I've managed to get some early morning shop time before heading off to work and I must say I really enjoyed it and want to do it more. You don't need to decompress from work, and with a small enough or concise enough of a task, you can head to work with a sense of accomplishment. These days though, I'm on the carpool schedule for dropping my daughter off at school so i can't afford to "go in a little late".

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Me too, PB.  And food ruins me, too.  I eat a big dinner and I'm toast.

 

I work at home so I "could" squeeze in some short bursts now and then if I really wanted.  But I don't work well that way.  I find when I have a nice chunk of time and I can get consumed with a project, I'm much more efficient and I do better work.  Unfortunately I haven't had a nice chunk of time for ages, so I've been in woodworker deficit mode lately.  Good time to dream up projects, buy tools, and hang out on the WTO forum way too much.  They say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  And that may be true but it sucks having no time to dive into a serious build.

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PB nailed it and I bet I'm half his age (ish.) If your drive slows you down mentally, schedule a pick me up like a walk with the dog to get fresh air to the brain. To answer another point, with kids, before work is not an option for me. When they go to bed is the best option. Hobby work is like any other. You should get better at estimating mini projects within a larger. I set mini goals and then reevaluate my time. This is another thread where communication with the spouse pays huge dividends.

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If your woodworking is truly a hobby, you shouldn't feel like you have to force yourself to go to the shop after work. You're supposed to enjoy your time there. If your too tired or too mentally distracted to enjoy your time you should stay out of the shop or you'll defeat the purpose of a hobby.Relaxation. IMO

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My wife works for the school system and has to leave for work about 5:00 AM so she goes to bed by 8:30 at the latest.  That allows me to get a couple of hours in at night after she goes to bed and doesn't interfere with time together.  Guess I'm pretty lucky!

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People have natural sleep/wake cycles – I've found you've got to work with them to be effective… Some can work against their natural cycles, but I’m not one of them…
 
I happen to be a ‘morning person’… So I pursue my hobby-activities in the early am, then go to work and crash the instant I get home… I've tried working after dinner, but it’s a non-starter…for me… On the other hand, my sister happens to be a ‘night person’ – she can have dinner and work well past midnight – that’d kill me…
 
Another option -- there's a group of guys in our R&D dept that are into competitive cycling... They come-in early and take a 3hr lunch and do their thing, then return at 2:00pm and work till 7:00pm -- works for them... would also kill me...
 
There's no one answer... You've got figure what works for you…
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My woodworking time is Wednesday and Thursday nights (and sometimes on weekends if the weather is bad). Wife uses this time to watch her trashy shows (her description, not mine). I am usually mentally drained by the time I get home from work, but I perk right up once getting into the work. Usually put in about 2 hours a night. The project goes really slow, but it goes.

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I agree with Mel. Shop time has to carved out, if you really want to get anything done. For me that generally means giving something else up. During the week, I am on the go between 4:30 am and 11:00 pm. If I have a deadline for Christmas gifts or such, I will trade off my morning exercise time to work a project, but that has its own drawbacks. I usually wait until the weekends.

Helps that my wife likes to watch football, and I don't. I get at least a couple of hours all to myself every weekend this time of year!

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Momentum is key. I've been trying to get in my shop every night, even if it's only to do one simple task.

 

I'm usually zonked after I get home from work, have dinner with the family, get the kids to bed, help clean up, etc. But I find if I make myself do one simple thing I can make progress.

 

If I cross cut some boards one night, rip them the next night, plane them the next night, etc. I can actually get a lot done in a week even if I spend less than an hour working each night. And I also find that once I get working I usually end up doing more than I had planned, or some times I'll just spend some time organizing/cleaning the shop.

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Momentum is key. I've been trying to get in my shop every night, even if it's only to do one simple task.

 

I'm usually zonked after I get home from work, have dinner with the family, get the kids to bed, help clean up, etc. But I find if I make myself do one simple thing I can make progress.

 

If I cross cut some boards one night, rip them the next night, plane them the next night, etc. I can actually get a lot done in a week even if I spend less than an hour working each night. And I also find that once I get working I usually end up doing more than I had planned, or some times I'll just spend some time organizing/cleaning the shop.

 

Good on ya Chris!  Especially in the winter, it's far easier to wait for when there is more time to spend in the shop.  Just takes time to heat it.

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Like all the hard core gym rats say, "don't make excuses for not going to the gym, you have no excuses, you're being lazy." They also complain on new years when everyone's resolution is to start working out, all the gyms are packed in january :) 

 

The point is, in a sense they may be right, but for their own gym religious reasons. We say we are tired, hungry, worked all day, have to run to the supermarket, and the list goes on. If time management was more friendly in our free time, we could all be a little more efficient and be able to take care of business and our hobby.

 

As for the gym rats hating on "lazy america", I have a bone to pick as well. I know you all will back me up on this one. Gym rats hate non gym rats clogging up their gyms and machines, right? What about all the joe schmos who want to save money, not hire a contractor, and remodel their house. I'm talking about saturdays and sundays when the parking lot is packed at home depot or lowes with a husband and wife trying to load a refrigerator in a civic. I'm talking about a whole family standing with their know it all father in the project aisle carefully eyeballing that perfect piece of poplar for a damn coat rack. 

 

This is all relevant to me, because I have a uncle same age as me who has been body building for 10 years. He busts balls about me not making it to the gym, i tell him i work so I cant make it. Funny thing is he got into construction for a hot minute, bought some hand tools, every drill dewalt makes in a fancy bag, and then never touched the tools again. That's what grinds my gears ladies and gents!

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Thanks for all the responses.  I think the problem is the 30-70 minutes of sitting I have to on my commute home.  The last couple days I had a cup of tea and a snack before I left work, and managed to keep my energy up through traffic.  That seems to be the trick...just maintaining my energy level on the way home. Then I can put in a couple hours before dinner.

 

For now its just my wife and me, and our dog, and she insists on walking the dog (its her decompression after work), and she would much prefer me in the shop to watching TV.  So really the only impediment was just feeling zapped by the drive.

 

Mel  I know what you are saying there are definitely days when getting in the shop is just not what I want to do that day.    And I know when I am too tired to work in the shop.

 

Shannon-  If I listen to woodtalk on the way home, what should I listen to at work?

 

And if the tea stops working, I'll look into morning sessions.

 

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

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