How to declare time independence

Here in the U.S., we’re celebrating Independence Day. On the 4th of July, we remember the occasion, 243 years ago, when a group of people decided to break from the past and start something new.

Most of us aren’t facing anything near such momentous decisions. But we can all become locked into the usual patterns, doing things because we’ve always done them. I think it’s useful, from time to time, to look at the bands connecting us to our schedules and obligations, and figure out what should be kept, or dissolved.

July 4th is as useful a day to work toward time independence as any other.

So…study your schedule. What fills your time? Why? Time passes whether or not we think about how we’re spending it, so it’s easy to spend time mindlessly. Days go by and years go by, always filled with something. The question is whether these things that fill our time are necessary, meaningful, or enjoyable.

Some things are. Some things aren’t. It’s impossible to spend time perfectly. But I do think that with a time horizon of a year or so, many of us can make big changes to spend more time on the things that matter, and less on the things that don’t. There are other jobs. There are many ways to acquire knowledge. There are many places to live. There are many supportive and wonderful people out there, which means that throwing more energy into relationships with people who aren’t supportive may be a questionable use of time.

And sometimes declaring independence is about recognizing the freedoms we do have. I’m trying to be better about this this year. Despite years of self-employment, I still have the story in my head that work must be done from my desk. But a lot of my work can be done from anywhere. So I’m taking a rather high number of trips with my kids with the understanding that I can spend an hour or two a day working from wherever we go. I’ve spent this week at the beach, hitting the waves in the morning, then using our afternoon quiet time to keep a number of projects moving forward. So far, it’s seemed like a good way to manage the hours.

How will you declare time independence?

One thought on “How to declare time independence

  1. Do you count it as “work” when you’re going for a walk and thinking about future projects, your career, etc.? How about when you think of an idea as you’re lying in bed at night falling asleep. I totally count those things. It’s important to have headspace to be creative for certain professions, and for me that simply doesn’t happen when I’m sitting at a desk, or taking care of a patient in the OR. So I find it at other times.

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