I recently left my day job to go full time on my own projects. So for the first time in a long time I have complete control over how I spend my working hours.
More than that, my portfolio of products earns enough passive income for me to live comfortably on. So I really do have almost no obligation to do…well…anything.
But here’s the thing. I never wanted not to work. I wanted the freedom to work on whatever I want. And now that I have it, I realize that it’s not as simple a proposition as it sounds.
At the moment I have far more agency—control over my work—than ever before in my career. For the most part I wake up every morning to a literal blank slate. A mostly-empty inbox, an empty calendar, and an empty todo list.
The problem is that every minute of every hour now comes with a new cognitive load. The load of am I doing the right thing? That empty todo list—a mark of your glorious freedom—also carries some serious personal accountability.
When you have a job, the weight of choosing the right thing is largely lifted off your shoulders. Of course you make decisions that shape your work, but unless you’re a founder/CEO, someone else is mostly responsible for your time. You can offload “direction” to the company, roll up your sleeves, and get stuff done without ever having to ask if it’s the right stuff. It’s actually quite freeing!