A wise man once said to me – a poor man spends time to save money. A rich man spends money to save time.
How often do you hear people say “I don’t have the time” or “I’ll get onto that when I get some time”, but it never happens? “I’ve been meaning to do that; I’ll have a look at it next week”. Once is prioritizing; twice is procrastinating; three times is a decision.
Other people, with their own time constraints, will put stuff in front of us and expect us to spend our time on it. These day-to-day things we do are urgent and (a majority of them) are not terribly difficult – they might only take us 2 minutes or 10 minutes or 20 minutes to do. But they add up. Before you know it, you’ve spent your day doing everything that’s urgent and accomplished nothing of importance.
Our time is important – it’s finite and it’s expensive. In a normal day you are going to spend a third of your time working and a third of your time sleeping (on average). Out of the remaining 8 hours you are going to spend an hour and a half eating and cooking; an hour watching news or catching up on social media; an hour and a half with family; half an hour or more showering and grooming; getting the kids ready for school; getting dressed; walking the dog; cleaning the house; getting the kids ready for bed; etc. It’s easy to see why we’re all stretched so thin.
Shooting is our sport – it’s the recreational aspect of our life that’s essential for our mental, as well as physical, wellbeing. Having something enjoyable and engaging to do outside our normal responsibilities isn’t just a luxury. If we can enjoy it in a social environment with our friends all the better. So why do we find it so hard to find time to go shooting?
A large part of it is that getting ready to go shooting is a herculean task, when you think about it. It’s also hard to make a big time commitment when there are lots of little things you could be doing instead. It’s also hard to know where to start.
Let’s work on the first one first – how can you justify the time? If you’re spending time shooting, then you’re not spending time doing other things. If you don’t want to feel guilty about this, you need to sit down with those important to you and negotiate a reasonable amount of time to spend on your sport. Not just shooting itself but preparing for shooting.
Why discuss this with your family? Because it impacts them. Your shooting needs to work for you, but at the same time it needs to work for your family; friends; job and other commitments. Otherwise, those around you will be resentful and bitter. Getting them involved will also empathise to them that this is important to you.
Is there a period during the year that you cannot go shooting? Out of the remaining months, how many times would you like to go shooting? If you could have what you want, what would it look like? You’re not going to get exactly what you want but, unless you specify it, you’re not going to get close.
To shoot the number of times that you do, how much time are you going to need to prepare? You’re going to need to clean your guns; load your ammo; check and pack your gear. Also take into consideration time spent researching products and new shooting techniques.
Let’s say that you’re wanting to go shooting 12 times a year. That’s three times in two months over an 8 month period of the year. During this period, you’re going to need to set aside approximately 30 minutes a week just for preparation. Depending on whether you’re a lark or an owl you might want to dedicate 30 minutes on a Saturday night or a Saturday morning to prepare. It doesn’t sound like much, so what can you do to maximise the value of the time set aside?
- You’re never going to find time – you need to make Schedule it; make sure everyone is aware of your unavailability.
- Write down what you want to achieve during this 30 minute block before you start. It might only be to size some cases or read one chapter of a book or call a shooting mate to discuss the next trip. This helps you focus of what’s important and prevents you squandering your 30 minutes on facebook.
- Make investments so you can make the most out of the time you have. Get a case prep centre or an automatic powder thrower to streamline your reloading. Get yourself an extra cleaning rod so you don’t have to swap attachments or a gun vice to help with cleaning. Get storage boxes and clearly label them. Write down what you do so you don’t forget to do stuff or do it twice for no reason.
3 steps to break down your next big shooting trip into small, manageable chunks. It’s not going to be easy – it’s going to take a measure of self-discipline and more than one uneasy conversation. There’s no better time to start though.