I need to care less.

Lately, I have been so consumed by my company, General Task, that I have found it harder and harder to relax and do something just for fun. I often feel the need to make nearly every part of my day productive and in some way aligned with my long term goals. For a time, it felt like the right thing to do. I felt secure knowing I was doing everything I could do to push General Task forward. But something felt off.

A few nights ago, it hit me: it's the weekend, and I'm not excited about my free time. At all.

I used to absolutely LOVE my free time. As a kid, I cherished any free time I got to have and constantly got sucked into computer games or reading or photography or building something with legos (or code). I would beg my parents to give me more free time as if it was the most precious thing on earth to me. It just might have been. And I would fantasize about all the things I could do when I got older and had even more time and freedom. But now here I am, with all the time and freedom I was promised, and that excitement and passion is gone. Why?

In that moment a few nights ago, I thought to myself: tonight, how about I work on something I can truly get excited about? But when I began to plan what I would do, I immediately felt guilty for "wasting time" instead of doing something productive, and the brief burst of excitement quickly disappeared. When I thought about writing more, my fear of writing something bad stopped me. When I thought about working on some coding project, the lack of a commercial application turned me off. When I thought about doing some photography, I worried my photos wouldn't be professional-grade. As I worked through the possibilities of what I could do, I felt more and more discouraged. I started to wonder if I simply didn't have a passion anymore.

But after doing some reading online, I realized I had the wrong mindset, not a lack of passion. Back when I was a kid, I just did what I thought was interesting and fun — it never mattered how good I was, or what the final outcome would be. And the funny thing is, that carefree attitude is the exact reason I got into coding and building in the first place, and shaped who I am today. Not caring about the outcome actually led to a better outcome.

I need to change my attitude about my free time and hobbies. I need to care less.

It has become clear to me that order to truly enjoy my free time, I can't tie it to some outcome or career goal. I have to be okay with wasting time. I have to be ok with being bad.

Today (October 16) was a Sunday I had wide open, and normally on days like this I would give myself a list of chores and tasks to do which I would procrastinate on and eventually slog through. But instead, I tried something I haven't done in a while. I gave myself permission to just do whatever I felt like doing, with no expectations whatsoever. I watched four episodes of Family Guy with zero guilt, and it felt great. I decorated my room, did some laundry, read some interesting articles, played videos games with my friends, and made dinner. I also wrote this blog post and had some fun making (probably buggy) CSS animations for it. All because I wanted to, not because I had to.

By caring less how I spent my time today, I spent the day genuinely happy and at ease. And that's not always easy to do as a startup cofounder, even on weekends. I'm looking forward to applying this mindset to more of my free time going forwards, and I'm truly excited to see where it will take me.