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The 'Busy' Trap - NYTimes.com


Stashed in: Time, Life, Money!, Be yourself., Decisions, Luxury, Zen, Stress, Awesome, It's a trap!, Some men just want to watch the world burn., Workaholics!, Your doing it wrong.

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"I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter."

Indeed. I've known a few people who've turned up their noses at the idea of volunteering because any work that they're not paid for is a waste of time. The fact that I get involved helping out with events is something that I do because I like it, but in the back of my mind I'm aware that with everything I do, someone else could just as easily do it, and eventually will.

"My own resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue, but I did make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money, since I’ve always understood that the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love."

It's a nice sentiment, but idleness is a luxury that you indulge when you can afford to nowadays. I'd like to be more idle, but the prerequisite for that is having sufficient funds because nothing's free. How I'd love to make it out to Half Moon Bay, but doing so would cut into gas and food funds.

Life is a giant tradeoff between time and money.

When you have a lot of free time (young people), you don't have money.

When you have more money (older people), you don't have time.

The key is to do fewer things, and make sure they're meaningful, no matter how much time or money you have.

Maybe I was an unusual youngster, or maybe I caught the early tailwind of the being constantly busy movement, but looking back on my teen years I didn't really have time to goof off...if it wasn't actual homework it was doing stuff to make me look like a stellar applicant for colleges down the road. Volunteering and extracurricular activities took up my free time, so I was timeless and broke to boot :P

Had I known then what I know now, I'd have been slightly wiser about the tutoring I was doing and charged for it instead of doing it for free.

Some day, when you're older, you'll have lots of time and money.

And then you'll have the wisdom of your young experiences to appreciate that.

Volunteering and extracurricular activities ARE what makes time worthwhile, fwiw.

What makes time worthwhile is being in the present of whatever you're doing, I think. When I was overbooking myself, it was with the intent that it'd impress someone somewhere down the line, and doing good for the sake of looking good is a lot different than doing good because you want to do good. Instead of enjoying the task at hand, I was resenting that I wasn't wherever in the future that I wanted to be yet.

That's insightful.

Stick to doing what you want.

Then no resentment, and you're using your time to be yourself.

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