The investment of time is a funny thing.
Maybe it is just a thing of creeping closer and closer to 50, or maybe it is just that there is less and less time to be had, but I am starting to look at the output/return of all of my time.
A simple example: For years (I am not sure - 4 or 5 to be sure) I have been placing quotes that I found useful or inspirational up on Facebook. For a very long time it seemed to help people (help, I judge, by the amount of "likes" or "shares" one would get). But lately I have noticed that the responses to my postings have been slim or none - which sort of belies the amount of time I was spending trying to find good ones.
Highland Games falls into this category as well - I do love them, but I only do 9 - 10 games a year. It is fun and the fitness is great, but how much time should one invest in 12 days a year?
Or writing - really the books I have done in the past more so than this blog (which is a therapeutic exercise as much as anything): For the hours that I spent writing - how many? No idea, but easily in excess of 200-300 over 3 years - what was my return beyond accomplishment? Enough to cover proof costs and an IP address.
Not that there is necessarily anything wrong with these activities - they are in fact some of the activities that give my life texture and color. But the reality is that the amount of return I get from them in terms of my life situation and what I am doing in it are fairly limited. And even with that, it is not so much that I should not do them, but rather that I should not obsess or stress so much about them.
Ah, says the hard nosed realist: Work. Why do you not stress and focus more on work then? Surely this is a place you spend most of your time and your efforts there will have the greatest impact? Alas, this is not the work world of long ago: of the 7 companies I have worked all have been bought out and gone away with only the intellectual property surviving and all effort in the world cannot overcome bureaucratic systems that hinder the ability to move forward rather than enhance it.
So what does this say about how I need to invest my time?
Perhaps what is says is that I simply need to look at the longer point of view, see what I need to have happen 10-15 years from now, and invest in that. Interestingly, most the activities I currently enjoy doing continue to fit into this category.
Perhaps even more interestingly, career does not.