This morning at work I was catching up, and still am, on Casey x Candace’s podcast, Couple’s Therapy. It’s a great podcast and I’ve written about it on this blog before, but for some reason I have been forgetting to tune in. But this one episode called Obligation Station really got me thinking and had some points come up that I truly agree with.
Casey said: “People who are not busy have no respect for people who are busy.”
“When people come in town for vacation, they call you and want to get together to fill their time and I have no free time, it’s the most frustrating thing.”
I totally empathize with Casey’s frustration. I am nowhere near as busy or anything as Casey, but I just value my time so much. And I want to spend MY free time how I want to.
I’ve written about this before. And I posted a really great article, too. It’s called To Everyone Who Asks For ‘Just A Little’ Of Your Time: Here’s What It Costs To Say Yes. Basically, the premise surrounds every event that you could commit to. “I could, but I just can’t.”
Think about it. “When people ask how I manage to get so much writing done, my ‘calendar anorexia’ is the answer. Same goes for how I’ve managed to keep a healthy relationship and how I manage to exercise and read. I keep a maker’s schedule because I believe that everything else is anathema to deep work or creativity.”
Paul Graham has a famous essay about managers vs. makers. There are two ways to run your life, he says. Managers know how their day is divided up in pieces for meetings, calls, and administrative tasks. Makers, on the other hand, need to have large blocks of uninterrupted, unscheduled time to do what they do. To create and think.
But what I am trying to get at is that we should be able to do what we want with our free time and we should not judge others for not wanting to do the same things, or things together. Who cares! People value different things and everyone’s headspace is different. Even our close friends. That doesn’t mean we need to be with them every free second we have. In fact, I almost rather hang out less because it makes the times we do hang out even more fun.
Another quote from the article, “...the result is that you have more opportunities and responsibilities that can reasonably be accommodated. And how you choose to respond to this determines the course of your career (and in my opinion, your personal sanity and happiness).”
“You can only hand so many hours of your day over to other people before there is none left. Even if there are some left, you may have lost the clarity, the energy, and the capacity to do anything with them. . . It’s in that mindset and that lifestyle that I do my best work. So I do my best to recreate it however possible, that is, in modern life where one has a job, obligations, and responsibilities. However many times I have to say no, or things I have to miss out on to make that happen.”
Do you feel guilty when saying “no” to plans? You surely have the time to commit to, but you just don’t want to. You’d rather spend your free time doing things that make you happy. Even if that’s staying in and keeping organized and doing work. Does that make me a bad person? You can’t say yes every time. But why do we feel guilty about it? Why don’t friends or family understand?