As I come back to the world after winter break and a bit of hiatus with the podcast and the blog, I was reflecting on the clarity I feel like I had during this time. I didn’t have to do anything other than work and take care of the apartment, spend time with my wife and our friends, and hang out with our dog. It was great.
This down time was precipitated by my new job I got in August. It is a remote job and encourages working flexibly. We have team members and constituents all over the country, so it makes sense to sometimes plug in a little later if you’re on the East Coast to collaborate with West Coast folks. Also, we have to travel a bit for different things, so if you need to catch up on work at odd hours, it’s totally okay. There is also a unlimited PTO policy so as long as you’re not leaving everyone in the dark to cover for you, you can take any needed time for special occasions or just to unplug during the holidays for example. Lastly, I don’t have to commute any more, which is awesome just for the time saved but also the stress. Since the new job has a lot of moving pieces to learn and the flexibility I was looking for, I winded down some side projects so I could take a bit of a breather.
This is the context for the past few months for me. I feel ready to ease back in to some of these side projects I have now. It was funny that since I had more room in my life for other things, I was more thoughtful about what I filled it with. I had a lot of momentum filling my limited precious time with podcasting, writing, editing other people’s shows, etc. before I got this new job. But now that I was going to be able to be making more money and have more time on my hands, I figured I should step back to rethink my priorities.
There have been a lot of recent articles this past year examining burnout and self-care. They’ve made me think a lot about the things I should be focusing on and how I nurture my own energy. Something I say a lot is that you make time for what you want to make time for. This is how we subconsciously reflect our priorities in the choices we make and the actions we take. This can also be retooled as an intentional way of being. We must make time for the things that are important to us. Otherwise, we’re going to build up internal stress and pressure, and not be our best selves. This manifested for me when it came to playing games. I didn’t make it a priority and I was far more stressed most of time because of it. Now that my life has settled down and I have more space, I’m playing a little bit almost every day.
It’s all about values and how we value our own time. We can work all day and every weekend, but what do we have to show for it? Certainly not much in the short term. Often we’re salaried and not getting overtime. We’re setting unhealthy expectations about our availability that we have to work to undo. We also always have the opportunity cost of not being able to do anything else we could be doing with that time. The relationships with the people around us and our other obligations will suffer. And yes, this includes making time for the gym, going to the doctor, and getting other errands done.
I hope these thoughts on time and space are helpful to you. I wanted to write again and this felt the most salient as both a general update on what I’ve been up to and also what I’ve been thinking a lot about.