0606 – schedule and prioritize me-time (then everything else)

How much me-time do you get a day or week?

I created a task that said, “I need to schedule my “inner child” time early in the morning and get it out of the way so that I can move on and focus on work.”

I think this is something that is fundamental and important. And it’s something that I don’t seriously discuss with myself enough. I should create a tag for it in my Things.

My belief here is that there’s some fundamental amount of me-time that I need whether I admit it or not. I need to know with certainty that I’m going to have time “for myself” – for entertainment, for learning, for exploring, for playing. When I don’t plan this out properly, I subconsciously find myself squeezing it into every little thing that I do. Earlier today I wanted to measure how long it would take me to fill in a KPI sheet. It took me 43 minutes. I think I could’ve done it in under 10 minutes if I focused and did nothing else – and that would’ve given me 30 minutes of actual playtime if I wanted it. But I didn’t set aside 30 minutes for play, and so instead I spent 40 minutes on a 10 minute task. And did I really have much fun doing whatever I did in between (had a conversation with someone on Facebook, amongst other things)? Not really.

The lesson there is that time should be spent focused on doing one thing at a time. I’ve written about this over and over, thought about it, reflected on it, but actually doing it… is something I’ve been slow to do. Why? What’s stopping me? I guess it’s that I’m bad at simulating how good it’ll feel to complete a task right now. I keep flitting to try and squeeze in some goodfeel from the dark playground. But really I should just visualize and simulate in my mind how good it’ll feel to finish something. In fact, I could expand this into a full word vomit and it’ll feel really good to publish it.

Shall we do it? It’ll take a couple of minutes. Yes, let’s, while the iron is hot.

Is there a “point” to me-time? No, me-time is the default state of play, exploration, having fun. There are good things that emerge from it, but obsessing about those things misses the point – the point is to enjoy the moment in itself. And here I find myself thinking that I’ve thought and written about this before – it will be interesting to revisit it, to compare. Yeah, dark brotherhood stuff. I mean, dark playground. Lmao dark brotherhood.

One way of approaching this is to want to have as much high-quality me-time as possible. A part of it requires raw quantity. I think 2 hours of me-time in the morning is something that I can easily afford if I set my mind to it, if I schedule for it. If and when I become a parent, or somebody with even more responsibility than I have right now, it’ll get even harder.

What’s the reason why I’m not getting more me-time?

Well, I have outstanding obligations. And so it feels like I need to be working on those obligations “whenever I have the chance”. But what does that actually mean, whenever I have the chance? What is negotiable, what is not? Should I be spending my every waking moment on all my obligations? I think a big part of my underlying anxiety is the sense that obligations are always falling onto my plate at a faster rate than I can deal with them. And so my life is a piling up of obligations, and when I die, my final thoughts will be, “oops, I guess I couldn’t do everything, sorry guys”. And people will have no choice but to forgive me, or if they don’t want to then fuck them, they’ll have to live with it anyway.

So – if the situation on my deathbed is such that I’m going to have to let go of a bunch of obligations, what about right now? What’s the current system? Well, at any given point in time I have some number of obligations. I have some limited capacity to meet some amount of these obligations. I would like to continually increase my capacity to meet obligations, but in the interim I’m going to have to give up on some in order to work on others, or otherwise flit from one obligation to the next and screw up at all of them (this is undesirable – and it’s also a frustratingly, amusingly common outcome for me).
So then – the important thing is to prioritize and work backwards from the most important thing. Stephen Covey already covered this stuff, and so did Randy Pausch, and so does everyone – the Eisenhower Matrix, the Urgent-Important matrix, whatever you want to call it. Pick the most important thing and do it. Ask yourself “what’s the most important thing” at every step of the way. I already know this intellectually, I’ve circled around it over and over again, why have I been slow to implement it, to internalize it? What am I missing? Clearly I need to be practicing this as though I’m practicing playing the guitar or something else. Or my posture. Why don’t I have great posture? Well – I think my posture is getting better. But is it getting better in the most effective, fastest possible rate that it could be? Probably not. Almost definitely not.

(Is that itself a thing that’s worth striving for? Maybe. I’m not sure. I think it should at least be experimented with, because once you have experience with accelerating something, even for trivial reasons, you can then use your experience to accelerate something else that really matters to you.)

As I’m writing this I’m getting the sense that the important thing is really just reviewing what I’ve done, over and over, doing performance reviews and examining them more closely. Watching the practice tapes and so on.

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