Obligation of Time

The other day I thought about getting a job in the most abstract sense. I thought: what would it be like if I just turned one hundred eighty degrees and got a job. The idea is literally repulsive to me, but I make myself think these things once in a while, just to check in; once in a rare while the answer surprises me.

No surprise this time, though. I definitely don’t want a job. I thought of a few positives, but the negatives stack up so quickly for me. The biggest negative, the one that really keeps me from doing it, is the idea of having to be accountable to someone else for many of my waking hours. It’s really a foreign and ugly idea.

Right now I’m in Maui. It’s sunny, and the temperature is in the low eighties. I know this because I checked on my phone, not because I’m outside. My friends are hiking a lava field and going to a beach, but I’m on my laptop working. I made the decision to stay in because I thought about a hike in paradise and I thought about debugging Cruise Sheet, and I was more excited about Cruise Sheet.

I’m not averse to work or offices or coworkers or responsibility. I’m averse to obligating my time.

I work all the time, but it really feels like I never work at all. I have many obligations, almost all self-imposed, but none that restrict my autonomy. I have lots to do, but I can do it on my own schedule and by my own methods.

The magic of this combination is that it allows me to produce a lot of work, enjoy the process, and still fit in other things I’d like to do. It also has hidden benefits like making me more resilient to crises. If something needs immediate attention, other things can be shifted without any friction. It lets me benefit from natural rhythms, working far more than eight hours when I’m at my best, and to recover when I’m at my worst.

If you have a job and you love it, that’s fantastic. But if you have a job and you don’t love it, maybe the problem is the obligation on your time. I think the whole “Digital Nomad” thing has taken off because it appeals to that freedom of time. Transitioning from one paradigm to another is rarely easy, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll find the hassle worth it.

How much of your time is obligated? Can you reduce it? Eliminate it? Others have, so my guess is that you can find a way to do it if it’s important to you.


Photo is me in Alcatraz prison.

Just got back from Maui. Now I’m in Los Angeles for Invicta FC 11 and UFC 184!

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