Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

On Giving Up Something You Think You Love

A chess board, with the white king condeding defeat

Many of us have too much on our plates. Work, family, side projects, hobbies, social commitments, and more. We don’t have time for all of those commitments. It’s no use fooling ourselves into believing that we can find or make that time.

It’s not going to happen.

To make space in your life, you sometimes need to give up something you love. Or something you think you love.

Something You Think You Love?

There are times when you take on a commitment or do something because you feel enthusiastic about it. Or think you should be enthusiastic about it because others like you are. That initial frisson of passion often fades after a few weeks or a few months.

I was in that situation in 2016. At the time, I co-organized a Meetup group. I thought that would be something I loved, but I turns out that I didn’t feel comfortable doing it. Being one of the organizers wasn’t advancing my goals. I definitely wasn’t advancing the group’s goals. In fact, my ideas and way of doing things went in the opposite direction that the group was moving.

So, I quit. And, to be entirely honest, it was like a weight was lifted off my chest. I have more time to devote to other pursuits and I don’t have the stress of helping to organize and plan monthly meetups.

How to Choose What to Quit

The first step is to look at all of your commitments. Obviously, there are some — like family and work — that you just can’t drop. You can take a close look at your side gigs or hustles, hobbies, and the like.

Look at them with a critical eye. Zoom in on what you:

  • Haven’t done in the last six to eight weeks
  • No longer feel passionate about or engaged with
  • Don’t have time for and probably won’t in the foreseeable future

“But I Can’t Give Up …”

If you think that, ask yourself why.

You need a compelling reason to stick with a sideline. If you don’t have that compelling reason, push it aside. Move on.

No, It’s Not Easy

In addition the co-organizing the Meetup group, there were a few other activities that I’ve let go of since the end of 2016. I won’t deny that letting those activities go was difficult. I had to wean myself away from those activities, even though I enjoyed doing them.

When you try to give something up, you’ll have the equivalent of withdrawal symptoms. You’ll be tempted to backslide. You’ll vacillate. Eventually, though, you’ll get over your fear of missing out or whatever it was that was nibbling at you.

You’ll find that you have more time to pursue what you really love. You’ll feel less stress and have one less burden in your life. You’ll also have time for the simpler things in life, like enjoying the company of family and friends, reading, listening to music, and just relaxing.

The beneftis of giving up something you love or think you love far outweigh what you’ve lost. Or think you’ve lost.

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