This week I was in a meeting/interview for a potential new freelance gig and we got to talking about the Internet and how it’s completely screwed with our sense of time. More specifically, how April or May feel like light years away and that even though the first week of 2013 is nearly done, it also still feels like we’re in 2012. We’re wandering around with compasses that no longer point magnetic north. We all are finding our own north and then decide on a Wiki together whether this is what time feels like. It’s strange.
Or as I unexpectedly put it: “We used to live in a very Zen-like awareness of the ‘now.’ But since the Internet has come along, we now live in a ‘stressful now.’”
Then, realizing the bleakness of that statement, I added: “This is my legacy.”
We all laughed, but it sank in and we all agreed.
In other words, we spend a lot of our time worrying about how our time could be better spent. “The time I spend doing ________ could be spent doing ________ instead.” There’s a sort of option paralysis inherent to all of this, and that is the death knell of the entrepreneur or the W9 crowd. I’ve written a few times about the work-life balance and interviewed some folks about it too for this site, and I think it’s an interesting well to come back to because it’s something nobody really has figured out. We might think we do, but then something happens and it shifts our perspective or grasp of it.
One thing that can help, as a recent Score post put it: “Entrepreneurship is fundamentally a lifestyle choice, and entrepreneurs need to learn to manage their business rather than letting their business manage them.”
How can you do that? Score says “the key to a successful life is knowing when to rebalance the scale and give your personal life a higher priority. Understanding how to accomplish this will not only make your life more successful, it will make your business more so as well.”
Then, the author goes on to say she hadn’t quite even begun to wrap her head around this successfully until she was “well into” her forties.
Whether that age is close or far away — well, with the Internet, it should seem real far away anyway, right? — don’t sweat it. Be the leaf, not the river.
And we’ll all get there someday.
David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a comedy-writing instructor for Second City. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.