Yesterday I found myself saying at dinner: "I am currently attempting to optimize my time". And it's true. As someone who actually wants to do something about the emerging future rather than just think about how amazingly awesome it's going to be (or alternatively, what sorts of dystopias are likely to emerge), I do find myself frequently asking: "Is this really what I ought to be doing right now?" (and yes, I do think writing this blog entry right now IS what I ought to be doing...or at least, it's a low-risk activity).
Ideally, I'd like to be doing something more constructive with more of my time. Working is a good thing, but my job isn't necessarily as aligned with my goals and visions for the future as I'd like it to be. However, I don't see how I can be a productive member of the H+ community without sufficient funding, and plus, some aspects of my job have provided valuable education with regard to engineering processes and time management.
Plus, being able to maintain Net access, attend occasional conferences (when I'm lucky), invest in research materials when necessary, and donate to good causes all depend upon my being part of the market economy. No income, no output.
Perhaps at some point in the future, the economy will be set up differently and people won't need to spend so much of their time at work, but we're not there yet. Certainly, if you have the motivation, imagination, and connectivity to work full time in transhumanism without having to do anything else for funding, by all means, do so.
But let's be realistic: if healthy life extension is to be achieved in time for many of us currently alive to take advantage of it, people need to start taking action now, with available resources, not imaginary ones. That is, we can't afford to wait for certain tools to develop before making a start.
Everyone can do something. You don't need to quit your job to be a Good Transhumanist or life-extensionist even if your job doesn't specifically pertain to the sorts of goals and technologies that you're trying to support and help bring about. Certainly, take advantage of opportunities that are aligned with your ideas if they come along (and there's nothing wrong with keeping an eye out for more). But don't risk losing everything if you've got a steady and stable support system that is bolstering your efforts in the healthy life extension community.
If you're one of those already working full time on trying to creatively engineer the future for excellence, you have my utmost respect. But those of us with day jobs can do plenty to help as well. And one of the primary things to remember about having a day job is that yes, you are allowed to keep it as a "day" job. My job has many good points, but at the same time, I need to actively resist letting it become the centre of my existence. It's okay to keep your evenings and weekends for yourself and your non-work projects. Who knows...perhaps some of the first revolutions that lead to escape velocity will be accomplished in part due to people's "spare time". It all adds up.
And on a completely unrelated note, I would like to offer a massive thank you to April Smith, whom you may recognize from the Mprize page (and her wonderful ongoing CR diary). Though Ms. Smith and I haven't really conversed, the food ingredients she often posts about have become my new lunch staples. She's right on about the protein! My lunches recently have consisted of things like cooked eggwhites, spinach, tomato, with a small amount of flax oil on top.
I must say, I have never felt so sprightly all throughout the afternoons. I have been interested in Caloric Restriction for a number of years now, and though I'm not a formal practitioner (in that I don't weigh everything), I do try to make sure nothing I eat is devoid of nutritional value (though special occasions can lead to some exceptions here, but I keep that to a minimum). I also drink lots of water and not much else aside from tea.
Honestly, it is not very difficult to do this -- and I very strongly recommend a nutrition change to anyone who feels that they're feeling sad or anxious. I have always been a very exuberant / joyful person, but I'm definitely able to handle stress much better since revamping my eating habits somewhat. Part of making use of non-work hours effectively has definitely included learning to eat properly.
My own optimization process is still continuing, and one thing I'm trying to work on now is setting up more of a consistent schedule for working on projects. Schedules don't need to be stodgy or stifling, especially when you're working on things in your own home.