You Focus on what you don’t have

Oliver Burkeman for The Guardian:

When you don’t have enough of something, you fixate on it, so it occupies much more mental bandwidth. If you’re not sure you’ll have enough money to feed your family all this month, you have an obvious problem, but also a non-obvious one: the toll on your mental resources, research suggests, will undermine your ability to make wise spending decisions, damaging your chances of escaping your predicament.

Probably one of the hardest chunks of my marriage was 2017 and 2018 as we worked so hard to figure out every month how to even come close to the household expenses. We spent so much time arguing over money and being stressed about it. Having a bit of slack in the system (where I can look forward and we’re paid for a few months with cash in the bank) is nice.

I want to make 2019 the year of space, which is really what the article is about. This is one reason I spend 4 hours Friday afternoon doing whatever strikes my fancy. Maybe writing short pieces like this, maybe trolling the library. How about some sushi and a coffee with a book. Why not take a long walk home to explore a few random streets.

Those few hours on Friday are some of the best hours of the week. They’re certainly the ones I look forward to most.

Sure, I can resolve to leave work early on Friday to spend an hour strolling in the park – I’m lucky to have that option – but when it comes to Friday afternoon itself, any mildly urgent task will prove more powerful than my initial intention, and I’ll end up rooted to my desk.

This is why I ignore my email on Friday and never plan to work then. It’s been about 8 years I’ve been telling clients I have a standing Friday meeting. It’s with me, but it still communicates my lack of availability for anything.