This post is really about the exploration I've been on. What it means to think about how to spend your time.
Lately, a question I get asked a lot is "What do you do all day?". Everyone has their own way of asking it. The words aren't always the same. The tone can be different. Ranging from curiosity to confusion (sometimes even indignation and self-righteousness but this is more rare). But its always the same idea. And inevitably, everyone always asks, in their own way. Whatever form it comes in, it's a desire to understand what someone does when they don't have a "Job"3. At first I found this question a bit annoying and would feel myself getting defensive. Why did I suddenly have to account for my time? Having had to answer it with some frequency, and for some people, with growing detail and elaboration, I've come to find that I am actually very grateful for the question. It's actually a very good question. And one that I am grateful for people opening my eyes too. It's one we should all be asking ourselves more often. At least, until it becomes obvious we no longer need to.
Of course, everyone else gets this question pretty regularly with the "How was your day".
I usually get asked this question by people with "jobs". Folks that go to work all day. Most people.2 And I think that's the reason the question sounds like it does. A job comes with a title, which serves as a nice shortcut is the universal understanding for how a person occupies their time. With a title, we can quickly imagine, put ourselves in the place of, that person. We know what a Jeweler does, likely what a Doctor does. Without a title, this is what I'm left with, and it I think it leaves most people unclear on imagining my life. I had this problem when I first became a software developer too, since it wasn't a job that my family had a grasp of. Even when I had a job, I had to account for my time. I found it annoying then too. We are always accounting for our time in some way.
I'm grateful for this question because it forces me to actually think about hwo I'm spending my time. It's easier when you have a job and you just go in and do it and then it's pretty simple answer.
- Being very aware of how you use your time is really insightful and also very difficult. Makes you face truths. Really think about things. It doesn't always save you from getting stuck in a rut but can make it easier to get out of.
- I'm having to account for my time in ways I'm not used to. I have no shorthand. I can't use "titles" or "projects" in the way that most people are used to.
- Reinforces self directedness. Makes you answer the question a lot of questions. Some of which look like of "What do I want to do" "What am I optimizing for?" "What is important to me" "What am I drawn towards and why?"
- Helps you realize where you don't want to be spending your time, like how I was with stonks.
- Really highlights how much we take for granted in a "Job", I only get this question because I don't "work" We don't normally have to account for our time like this. You can actually go to work, not get much done, and have a vague sense of not "not having accomplished anything (is there a word for this?)" but still shrug it off as "work".
- One of the reasons I left my job was because it wasn't how I wanted to be "spending my time"
- It's the rubber ducky effect, sitting here trying to think of how I would put into words my Effort, the journey. Does it sounds stupid? Does it sound like I'm doing enough? If I'm honest with myself.
- The ambiguity I've been in.
I actually have three goals: * Work on building things. * Work on things I like. * Work independently/flexibly.
Lately, one of the questions I get asked most often is "what do you do all day?" or something similar1. Which is most people. Except my parents, who are retired.