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The Ever Expanding Free-time Myth

I was cruising through some old notes about blog post ideas and I hit on this one… this article is so much more poignant now that I’ve procrastinated it into October.

Researchers have found that humans are very bad at predicting “resource slack.” When asked to guess how much money and time they’ll have in the future, they accurately predict that their financial situation will remain relatively the same, but they think that their free time will expand.

via The Art of Manliness

I think this should serve as a call to action. Let’s not squander the free time we have today. We think that by pushing something off until tomorrow we are only delaying it, not fully realizing that the decision to put something off until tomorrow may be putting it off forever. You’ll never take that big road trip if you don’t start planning your stops and e-mailing your buddies to line up your schedules, you won’t have any more time to do it next month.

The other way to view this is as a call to enjoy and appreciate the free time that we have now. Things aren’t going to get simpler, up until that grand retirement. If we want more time to pursue our true interests we are going to need to find ways to make use of the time we have now.

  1. Disconnect the Cable to get back the night hours
  2. Find ways to carpool or take mass transit so you can get some thinking done on the way in to work.
  3. Skip the stationary bike, start biking to work.

I forget where I heard the following advise, but it rang true when I did and it’s stuck with me since. There was a very prolific artist who said the best way she was able to launch new projects was by using the gap time she had available in any given day. Instead of reading an RSS feed, or playing a game on her iPhone, she would use that gap time to work on a project she was trying to get off the ground. By making that effort over a few months she was able to make steady progress until eventually the gap time became the full time, and new projects would need to back fill into that new gap time.

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