2020-02-05

How we find the time to do what we do

I recently wrote a very short review on Instagram of a book that I just finished, and someone responded and asked me how I find the time to read. I found it interesting, because a) I don’t think I read that much (tops two books a month) and b) to be completely honest, I also don’t do many other things—at least not compared to what I used to do.

There was a time when I spent my time very differently. I spent at least ten hours at the office every day, went to the gym four days a week, freelanced on top of my day-to-day work, did lectures, talks, and workshops at everything from tech conferences to big corporations, kept a thought leadership-y blog, and many other things. It was a busy life, and I loved it. But nothing ever felt like it was enough. And more and more, I started questioning why I was doing the stuff I was doing. I felt like I was actively building my personal brand without knowing why, and like it became an end-goal in itself. Again, without knowing why. It started feeling shallow and empty. And it wasn’t nice.

I’m living a much slower life now. It’s ironic, because work is anything but slow—the company I’m working at is evolving at an incredibly fast pace and every nine to twelve months it’s like a new and much bigger company, with new colleagues, new strategic partners, new markets, entirely new projects, and so on. It’s wild, and I love it. But I’m becoming much stricter about boundaries, and I’ve freed up a lot of my spare time for doing nothing. Doing nothing includes reading books, watching films, thinking about our family and our home, and—of course—writing this little blog, which I’ve come to love so much.

And I think that’s really it. We still compare ourselves to people on Instagram in a way that’s completely unfair. One of my favourite fitness influencers does very few other things in a day than hanging out at the gym. I will never achieve her fitness levels unless I do the same. My favourite food influencer does very few other things than coming up with great recipes. My favourite interior influencer does very few other things than trawl the internet/flea markets/etc for little gems. Etcetera. You can’t be all three, yet somehow, we still compare ourselves to all three.

That’s how we find the time to do what we do. We don’t do the other stuff. I do think it’s possible to have it all, just not at the same time. And I’m increasingly content with that.

On my current reading list. These will keep me occupied for some time!
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