You Don’t Need ‘Me Time,’ You Need This Instead
In times when you’re feeling out-of-sync, my advice has always been to push forward regardless; for building great momentum requires less positive emotion behind it than you might expect.
However, this strategy does admittedly have a foundational discipline beneath the mindset to just press forward, and doing so without a preexisting self-reliance or fighting spirit may prove this progressive attitude difficult to obtain.
I sympathize greatly with the difficulty to find your feet during moments of unbalance. Moments when your reality and your footing in it does not feel quite as fluid in alignment as before. It is because of my sympathy, however, that I find immense discomfort for the common (and unfortunately: temporary) solution to these chaotic times. The self-advised response here would usually be to dedicate time to yourself. To block out stresses and relieve yourself of the vast challenges of life. This time is a time known as ‘Me Time.‘
During Me Time, it is as if you are temporarily granted the ability to pause everything occurring in your life in order to prioritize your focus to yourself. The intention here is to allow yourself a moment to commit to low stress and positive activities that require little energy. Me Time is your supposed opportunity to restore energy. The demand for times like this comes from the hectic world where people find themselves in a position of constantly having to complete tasks that are not of their choosing. Constantly doing things for others and feeling as though their power over their time and life is fading as time passes.
What I find problematic here is that it fuels the mindset that this constant struggle for power over one’s own life is something that you have to escape from. Instead, I propose that it is more beneficial in the long term to firstly acknowledge the hard-truth that people will always try to gain power over you and then use selective moments to strategize how you are going to combat this and gain more power over your own day-to-day as opposed to constantly finding yourself needing more Me Time. The seemingly comfortable time that you find yourself escaping from the problems of the day-to-day ends up being more dangerous as it acts as the catalyst for more escapist thinking and desire for instant gratification which has been proven to encourage a further downward spiral and loss of control over one’s life decisions.
I suggest an alternative time which, when taken away from this article and into your own experience, will drastically change the way you think about how you spend the time in which you prioritize de-stressing. I propose ‘Future Me Time’.
In Future Me Time, your focus is not on escaping the stress of the constant fight for power, but rather, strategically prioritizing time in which you work on something that will serve your future self. Robert Greene, the author who wrote many strategic and impactful books including The 48 Laws of Power, talks of something similar. He makes it clear that there are really only two ways in which time can exist. Dead Time and Alive Time. In Dead Time, a person is usually passive. They allow time to bide and does nothing to usefully leverage this time. In Alive Time, a person constantly learns and acts in leveraging their every second toward their future.
What my proposed Future Me Time entails that the more commonly explored Me Time doesn’t advocate is the focus on how your life after the time will be realigned. You will find your previous-self has elevated your outlook on life and the means in which you go through it. You may find previously difficult tasks, no longer so. You may now have the ability to see connections between things that previously seemed vague. Your intentional decision to choose activities that will benefit your later success is an act that can propel you immensely.
Go for a long walk with a deep or hard question you must answer before returning home.
Write in a journal.
Build an improv strategy for a recent reality shift.
Work on a smaller task.
Notice little thoughts and write them out.
Call someone about a project you’ve always wanted their help on.
Write an email to someone you admire. Reach out.
Think strategically about your next career move.
Ultimately, Future Me Time should be treated less as an occasional booster, but rather as a way of life: to look constantly toward the future and to productively use the time that was once energy draining and temporary in its emotional response. Instead, focus on the constant acts of pursuing your desired outcome that make for a thrilling ride. For as Paulo Coelho once said: ‘It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.’