I've been lucky enough to have a nice chunk of vacation time at the end of 2016.
I had a big list of to-do's piling up -- things that I want to do when I have time. And now that I "have time" they're still not done.
Because even on vacation, I still feel pulled to do things that don't help me learn new skills or provide service to others. I do things that are important (take walks with my kid, spend time with friends and family) and those that provide more instant visual indication of progress like cleaning out the junk drawer or a closet.
Hack 1: I need to make seemingly insurmountable things like "remain employable" and "advocate for important causes" more tangible. Something I can look at and admire, like an organized drawer. So a certificate for a completed online class. Or keeping a list or log of phone calls I have made or postcards I have sent.
Hack 2: I need commitment or I will find something "more important" to do. "More important" probably meaning spending time with my kid even though she probably doesn't need as much time as I give her....Or forfeiting my allotted professional development time at work because I'm too busy doing my work tasks. But if I have a friend counting on me being at a meeting or the threat of making a bad grade in an online class, I am much more likely to do what I *say* I want to do in the first place.
In short, time is not what I need. I need to build a schedule that commits me to doing the things I care about, with adequate slack time so that I can do the important things like cuddle with the dogs.