Too Much Free Time

On Electrolite, PNH quotes Arthur Hlavaty on the subject of well-roundedness and “too much free time” as being used to describe those who accomplish things. (I wanted to link directly to AH’s quote, but I can’t find it on his weblog – maybe this was an e-mail or something?) I agree with what both gentlemen say. I got the same kind of crap about reading lots of books that is getting discussed in the comments section of EL, and I currently get the “too much time” business about things like my georging of nearly 5000 bills. In point of fact, I don’t have too much “free time”. What I do have is what they called when I was doing behavioral interviewing for Intel “Commitment to Task.” That means I’m willing to do things a little at a time over long periods without getting washed away by the fact that its a large job that may never get finished. When Java’s Swing was new, I printed out the entirety of the javadocs for it at work, all 1500 pages. I did it one class at a time, staying off radar, over the course of 6 weeks. That’s how I georged all those bills. I doubt I have ever spent more than 15 minutes in one day on it ever. Typically, I do a few bills a day, for less than 3 minutes total time. When I look back at the WREK automation system, I get amazed at how much stuff there is there and wonder how I had the time until I think about how I did it in 30 and 60 and 90 minute chunks over the course of 18 months. The “you’ve got too much free time” meme is the kind of thing said by the unimaginative and impatient who can’t comprehend any other way of existence. Along with “get a life”, it has become a phrase of so little meaning that it gets piped to /dev/null in my ears as I hear it.