Luxurious position isn’t it?
One of the drives that led us to engage in a sabbatical was the promise of having “more time”. Pretty obviously we didn’t get more of it, we could simply use this newly acquired “free-time” (free from work and daily life duties) to non-essential activities. Activities that we normally wouldn’t spare time for.
Spare time is much less about the time itself than about the freedom of mind we can dedicate to activities we cherish or are curious about. Thus an initial burst of non-essential personal projects at the beginning of our sabbatical: cooking, maths from the ground-up, electronics and of course Spanish. Those were alluring topics that we couldn’t fit in our office 9-5 lifestyle; not because it was impossible but because it didn’t weight enough to pass the sieve of our attention, torn apart by jobs, social life and other enjoyments.
So for once in a while, we got the opportunity to pause exert an “Attention tabula rasa” and focus on new topics that were suffering our lack of care for far too long.
But beyond the tabula rasa lies another timely dimension, the key question of time well-spent.
How one defines time well spent is highly subjective, thus I’ll carefully lay out a few thoughts here knowing that they might heavily differ from yours but hoping they could spark some discussion.
I once defined a personal compass; a why-chart that could help direct personal daily choices on where to focus attention. It contained two main pillars:
In short, a personal purpose in life would be to generate & experience a wide range of emotions while striving to create clarity from the complex systems that surround us. Those “purpose pillars” were supported by a set of “clarity posters” articulating a personal field of interest that in my opinion sits at the intersection of emotions & clarity.
In light of our recent “Attention tabula rasa” experience it now feels that something is lacking. When you find yourself with such amount of spare time, the question of time well spent comes to tickle you very soon.
Being in-between our jobs and our plastic-recycling Costarican mission, we completely stopped working for others. In other words we stopped generating value for anyone beyond ourselves. I believe this is, in part, what is lacking in those clarity posters. The ability to not only create meaningful content but to do it together, in a joint goal.
[Happiness is real only when shared]
[Stoicians and the illusion of free-will]
From August Bradley
With all these considerations in mind, what could we consider a proper use of our time? And to add to this mix, is it time well spent if it won’t have an impact?
A hierarchy of impactful projects
- Doing the work
- Facilitating the work
- Raising awareness