I ran across this comment by Lefort, a well known poker player, on a 2+2 thread (bold by me):
I’ve always thought that the biggest advantage to being a poker player is the huge amounts of “free” time we’re blessed with, given that it’s so easy for many of us to make $X00+/hr, any given hour of the day. This was awesome when I was in school and for a short time after when I was busy with projects and other life aspects. But as things slowed down and poker became my biggest focus, the massive amounts of free time almost become a burden in a weird way. It’s different when you have legitimate things to fill up that time. But when you don’t, I think too much “free” time is very unhealthy. And this is especially true for those people who are naturally extremely analytical, ie. good poker players.
I think to achieve true balance in a daily routine, one needs a certain level of time-related stress to experience feelings of accomplishment and self gratitude. As poker players, we literally have 90% of our time to divvy up however we choose, compared to maybe ~30% of someone with an office job. That means that we’re basically never under any sort of stress to get to work on time, eat our lunch briskly to fit in that workout, weave through traffic to make that dinner date, have a quick workout because we need to make the 8pm show, etcetc.. And as much as it seems awesome to not have to worry about these things by working when it’s easy and convenient, I’ve learned that for myself, it tends to breed a feeling of disassociation from society and is not a very good situation for breeding feelings of true success and accomplishment.
It’s very possible that this is just something exclusive to myself and not applicable to people with other personalities, but I thought I’d discuss anyway in the case that it’s not just me. My “best” days now are always the ones where I get up to the alarm clock early enough to have breakfast with and see off my gf to work, grind a few hours, rushing off to the gym for _pm for a workout, making it quick-ish to get back and do laundry or whatever else, fit in another quick session feeling fresh from getting the blood flowing, then having enough time to prepare an awesome dinner for the gf before hanging out with friends or doing something fun. Regardless of results, I enjoy the grind far more when I feel like I’m being active, as opposed to the days where I’ve been a slob that hasn’t showered or done anything but play poker in sweatpants and take breaks to eat toast and granola bars and over-analyze just about everything there is in my life to possibly over-analyze.
Basically, I’ve concluded that an overly analytical mind plus an abundance of time equals an unhealthy environment that tends to restrict balance and overall happiness. But maybe it’s just me, who knows.
What he’s saying is that when you have a lot of free time you still need to create a schedule for yourself in order stay healthy. Without deadlines, there isn’t as much pressure to get things done, and when you don’t get things done, you don’t experience “feelings of accomplishment and self-gratitude.”
As someone who has spent a lot of time working from home, I couldn’t agree more: my most productive days are the ones where I get up to an alarm clock, shower, and set tangible goals for that day. If I wake up at 11 and sit here surfing HackerNews and Tweetdeck without any clear objectives, the day flies by and feels wasted. And I’d say this applies to everyone, not just analytical people.
You can read Lefort’s full post here.