So Much Time

Being ‘back at school’ for nearly two weeks now, I have come to another important realization: 24 hours is such a long time. When my only “real obligation” is being a student, like it pretty much is right now, my calendar is empty. College is a vacation, if you want it to be. 

“Freshman me” would vehemently disagree with my current view. Freshman me was incredibly busy…I would wake up at like 6 am daily, “work” all day, and go to bed at like 1am. But, anecdotally, what was I really working on? 

Do not get me wrong…I fundamentally believe in hard work. I work really hard, pursuing the things I care about. But I also strongly believe in the power of no work. I try my best to work as little as possible on things I do not care about. 

I think that is where current me passionately differs from previous mindsets I have had – I do not believe in fluff. 

Here is what I do not get and what pretty much sparked this essay…what the hell are people doing all day that they are so damn busy? Literally, I just try and get dinner with someone they tell me to schedule them 2 weeks out. Students! What are they doing? 

Here are some hypotheses: 

I do not invest my time in clubs…freshman me was in like 6. Clubs give people purpose (while they figure things out) but are in net not very unique or rewarding imo. (unless they are particularly fun which is rare). I think some people invest tons of time in these groups (10-30 hours a week). They can decide if it is worth it for them…for me…I’ll pass. 

I do not invest much into tangential relationships. In other words, I do not aim in to have a thin network. I think lots of people spend a lot of mental energy trying to keep up with dozens of people at once. They are good at asking “how is life?” and having a thin conversation. I suck at that. It is certainly a valuable skill – but not one that I have prioritized. 

I do not invest any time in formal recruiting for jobs. I do not really believe in formal recruiting. I get involved in things I am interested in and avoid competitions at all costs. Perhaps people are in tournaments for jobs and are really trying to win so they practice all day and all night. I would say this is a short term, unsustainable observation…Once you get a job…do you stop reading about industries? Do you stop researching companies? If so, we are playing different sports with different goals and outcomes. 

I do not invest as much time as I would like in my personal health. I could run more. I could go to the gym more. And I should and will. I think lots of people go to the gym more than me and definitely kudos to them. I have lots of respect for people who are in shape and invest lots in their bodies. 

Basically, the purpose of this essay was to highlight the following claim that I have made (and will probably continue to make) time and time again:

A busy calendar is not the goal. It is a short term optimization that makes you feel important…but motion ≠ progress. 

I strongly believe in this latter statement and find it so so important to not only be aware of it but also implement it in your day to day life. 

I also highly highly value spontaneity. I value freedom. I value the ability to decide where I am spending on my time. For this reason, I rarely enter long-term commitments. This has trade-offs. Importantly, I do sometimes agree to long-term things (either with other people or businesses or even myself). When I do do that, though, I tend to really go “all in.” For instance, my writing…every day…EVERY SINGLE DAY…for 2.5 years. No excuses. Point being…I value the freedom to choose. I can quit tomorrow. But if I want to get dinner with a friend tomorrow too, I could. And that is magical. 

I am not on this earth to be fake busy. I am here to get things done – spend time on things and with people I care about. I am not going to ever tell you what you should care about…that is for you to decide. 

Also published on Medium.