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I have many interests in personal productivity. I don't like to waste time so I sometimes pass up social events for 'bettering myself' through some extra work on a weekend night. I still get plenty of time to relax throughout the week - I just don't see going to a bar as a good use of my time.

How can I convey this to friends that don't share the same mindset without coming off as self-important or acting like my time is better than everyone elses?

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Related: similar question I did some time ago -- really varied and good answers: – Alpha Aug 1 '12 at 19:59
I just read this awesome article about getting things done and improving productivity… This may help you and you may help others!! – Ashutosh Dave Aug 26 '12 at 9:01
I think the question title doesn't meet the content. I have updated it accordingly. – Rory Alsop Sep 4 '12 at 10:27
up vote 6 down vote accepted

It sounds like you're friends don't share the same interests as you do. This could be the result of you having become friends at a time when you shared similar interests but have now grown apart.

First, try inviting your friends to the activities or events you wish to engage in, assuming they're not solitary. Perhaps your friends have nothing better to do on a Saturday night than go guzzle booze, but if you offer alternatives, they may be interested in expanding their horizons.

If that doesn't work, then join groups, clubs, or attend events where you're likely to meet people with similar mindsets. For instance, if you really enjoy reading science fiction, join a science fiction book club.

This doesn't mean you're turning your back on your old friends, just that you're meeting new friends who share your goals. Occasionally, you'll find that you may want to join your old friends for a night on the town, or vice versa, maybe one of them will accept your invitation to join you in the book club.

In short, the solution to your problem is to make plans of your own, and commit to them. You're entitled to do whatever you want to do just as your friends are entitled to do whatever they want to do. Just be sure to check your attitude at the door. If you make it sound like you're trying to be better than everyone else, that may not be the best way to hopefully get your friends to join you.

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You are right; there are some shared interests- drinking and gaming, but personal productivity and success.. not on the list. – Gaʀʀʏ Jul 30 '12 at 20:30
You need more than one circle of friends. When you have backup, it's easier to break from one herd and join the other when you need to. – jmort253 Jul 31 '12 at 0:39
I agree with the "more than one circle of friends" advice -- even if it's not the goal to break with anyone. Many of us have wide interests, and need circles of friends that may not overlap with all of your own interests. – Mark Freedman Aug 2 '12 at 17:44

I know I'm playing devil's advocate here, but you do need to keep in mind what your productivity goals are for. For me, one of the reasons I aim to be very productive during my work hours is that I can have uninterrupted leisure time.

You should also keep in mind the law of diminishing returns. Working weekends might not give that much of an edge, and could encourage stress and burn out. In my experience, social interaction is very important in mitigating work-related stress. There is some research supporting this experience.

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I do get enough time to relax (perhaps I do not consider going out / to the bars as a method of relaxation?). My work on the weekends is unrelated to my 40 hour work week so while both are programming, they both give me different insight and there isn't much topping out (although working into the evenings of workdays on the weekend-work can get stressful). – Gaʀʀʏ Jul 30 '12 at 20:23
I can relate to the desire to relax in a productive manner as well. Programming, or self-improvement around programming has a different feel during business hours, and after hours (including weekends). I feel refreshed after spending several hours "relaxing" with a good book, video, or articles on programming, or even programming for non-work related projects. So I consider that "down time," as well. – Mark Freedman Aug 2 '12 at 17:42

I find that spending time with a group or in an activity not necessarily my first choice can actually benefit my personal productivity by shaking up my routine thinking and allowing in other perspectives that can be catalysts to new ideas. I call that "blowing the stink off of me". I've read some recent articles on the value of suggestions and ideas coming from left-field - maybe an occasional night out with a cocktail or two can result in conversations and topics you wouldn't have had in the isolation of your usual work-home routine.

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You can't be productive the whole day. Sometimes you do have to hang out somewhere or watch a movie all night. But you should make the best out of your free time as well.

Allocate some leisure time for yourself. I tell my friends when I'm free. I insist on them telling me at least a day in advance, and I'll turn them down if they want to go and hang out right now.

You don't have to be rude. Just tell them "Oh, I have plans tonight. You should have told me yesterday, before I made plans."

That way, I can have a productive streak on some evenings and plan out a couple of evenings every week to just hang out with friends.

Eventually, your friends will adopt a similar pattern and you can have more organized leisure time. You can have a "bar/karaoke night" every week, preferably after a few days of hard work, and spend the rest of the week being productive.

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If possible, share you weekend plans with your friends and tell them why this is important to you. They should understand your changing interests.

For example, if you plan to read a book or explore new stuff on your computer over Friday night, tell your friends about this. And be exited about this... "Hey! you know what, I finally got this new book of Dan Brown. It seems to be amazing. I can't wait for Friday night to finish it up."

You friends will understand that the book (or whatever is your plan) is more important to you than going to a bar. The early you share your plan, the better.

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I have tried this method before. In theory, it makes sense, but in a real world context, you are at the scrutiny of peer pressure and judgment. – Gaʀʀʏ Jul 30 '12 at 20:25

You can't control what others think of you. And you will benefit from perpetuating whatever behavior leads to positive consequences in your life.

Your friends will resent interactions where you promote an agenda which contrasts too strongly with their beliefs. But if they see you doing well and come to the conclusion on their own that good things are happening in your life are related to your actions and related beliefs, they will likely be drawn to you rather than reject your beliefs.

I'd say to just stay true to what you believe. Do whatever brings you closer to the things you want in life. Your truest friends will at least understand and ideally support you. Surround yourself with people like that!

Best of luck!

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