1000WAD_082017. Post 1. Time is limited.

22 August 2017. So I have accepted yet another 1000 words a day challenge. Knowing me, its gonna be tough to keep up with it. Unless I put a theme to it.

One of the themes could be writing a piece inspired by each alphabet. And I can repeat the vowels. So, I will have 30 odd pieces in 30 days (I did this some months back). Or the other option is to write 1000 words towards #book2, where I end up with 30K words. But then I am not sure if I have it in me to be able to do this – considering that the book is still in flux (and while a forced word count has worked well for me in the past, I want to do this one different). Or the third option is, I can write about things that I want to leave behind, should I die after a month. Things that have shaped me and my thinking. 

And after deliberate thinking, I have decided that I will write about the lessons, today being the first one.

So, lesson 1. Your time is limited. Everything else, including money, is unlimited. 
If you lose time, you will NOT get it back. 

Unlike other that is seemingly scarce, is not. What are the things that we think are limited? Money? Business opportunities? Access to loved ones? Number of chips in a bag? Battery on your phone? Parking slots?

Each of those things - EACH - is infinite (from the perspective that we are specs of dust on a blue ball in the vast infinite). You can make as much money as you want to. And if you exhaust the money you've made, you can earn it back. If you are lazy to put in the hardwork to earn money, you can beg, borrow, marry or steal. But you can always get it. And there is more than enough of it to fulfill every whim that you may have.

Loved ones is a probably the biggest myth propagated since the beginning of time. As I get along in life, I realise that love is probably the most overrated of things. More on this some other time. But the point is, you can always find opportunities to spend time with someone, if they matter. You need time for it. Nothing else. Time that is anyway limited.

Number of chips in a bag? Get another one. Battery on your phone? Carry a powerbank. Charge it again. Parking slot? Park a mile up the road. There is always a way out.

But the time that is gone, the seconds you've spent reading this (or on other frivolous things), is not coming back. And thus, you need to be VERY conscious of the way you spend your time. You need to eliminate time sinks from you life. Will talk about time sinks in a bit.

Your time is so limited that you need to spend is more wisely than you spend your money. This is counter intuitive. We are ok taking public transport because we cant afford a taxi or a cab but we "waste" probably 2 times the time in reaching the destination. While we saved 100 bucks, we had to spend that extra hour. Is that the worth of your hour?

I know not everyone has access to money, but once this thought about scarcity of time takes home, you find ways of saving time AND making money, that further allows you to save time. It becomes a feedback loop.

So, what has worked with me, when I think about the time vs money piece is putting a monetary value to each hour. Dont ask me how I came to this number but the cost of my each day is Rs. 20000. And thus, my hourly cost is about 1000 bucks (little less). Now all decisions of time become a simple maths equation.

If I need something done and its going to take me an hour to do so, I try and see if I can outsource it to someone who'd charge less than a 1000 bucks for it. If I can, I outsource. Or else I do it.

I am trying to implement this in all walks of life. And I have become so anal about my time that I have automate most things. My lunch is ordered by a colleague - she orders the same thing from same restaurant everyday at same time. I am not thinking about my lunch at all. If I have a meeting at 11 and I expect traffic on the way, I leave at 8, park myself as a coffee shop. If a certain thing at work can be given to a junior, I will. If I need to hire more people, I will. Of course I dont have infinite money either. But I am trying to do that.

Of course, there are exceptions.

My book for example. I am irrational about it. I know that I wont make money with it and the amount of time I put on it is unreal. If I were to put a value on it, say I need 2 hours everyday to work on it. Thats like 2000 bucks a day. Over the entire life of the book, I will probably put in 700 days. So, the financial value of writing a book (as of today) is Rs. 14,00,000. And no, no author makes that kind of money from the sales of the book. And my hourly "rate" of 1000 bucks will go up as I get busier in life (my time gets limited and thus attracts more premium). But then, somewhere at the back of my head I know that the book is going to have infinite returns if it does well. So the equation works out for me (see how I justify my irrationality about writing).

The other place where I make exceptions is people. I may spend 3 hours to get a 15 minute meeting with someone. I know that the opportunity cost of the meeting is about 10000 bucks. But I am looking at it terms of future returns. Can the lesson I learn from that 15 minute meeting help me make money or save time in the future? Same for business development activities. A meeting can potentially get me work that makes some money for me. Money that I can invest to make more time.

Third place, teaching. This (blog) to me is teaching. I probably took 3 hours to write this post. Am I making money from this? No. Am I getting access to people who can teach me things as I go along? Maybe. Am I getting better as an individual? Hell yes!

Fourth, some people (in my inner circle). Myra, Agony Aunt, sgMS, my folks, vvgg etc. I dont think of time when it comes to them.

I can give more examples. But you get the drift.

Thing is, time on the other hand is limited. Every second you spend, is gone. You are not getting it back. So, make it count! 

Thats about it, I guess. So, may be its time to move your ass and get shit done? There's nothing called the right time. The right time is now. And the place is here. Lets go.

P.S.: I talked about time sinks briefly above. Lemme talk about it briefly.

A time sink, by definition is a place where we waste time without realising. Classic example? Commute (unless you are the kinds to actually get things done while you are in transit). Can you eliminate commute from your life?

Here are more time sinks.

A. Societal constructs. Things like social functions, courtesy, norms and other such things. I think (no way to validate) that all the societal constructs were created when you lived in a time of unpredictability. You were not sure if you’d get hunted if you stepped out of the cave – and thus you travelled in groups. You were not sure if you’d get your dinner if you venture too far out – so you stuck to tribes. You did not know how to make inroads into a colony of strangers – you decided to use introductions and bribes. For each of our behaviour, we can trace if back to our prehistoric behaviour and learning. But, the world we live in, is little more open and smaller (thanks to the Internet) and we dont need to adhere to things that worked while we were in caves. Most times when I meet someone, rather than creating a story, I come to the point. Most people balk at it but I know I can get more things done.

B. Everyday decisions. What to wear, what to eat, where to go to hang out etc. Put them on autopilot. Become a creature of habit. Steve Jobs was famous for wearing the same thing everyday. I am trying to get there. If I have to meet someone, I by default tell them to meet me at a Starbucks. My breakfast and lunch come from the same place, at the same time, even when I am not around. So far I seek help from friends but I am hoping to start using apps like Haptik to get things done (need to get independent - more on this in one of the next posts). If I need to celebrate, I goto the same expensive restaurant (by virture of the price they charge, the dinner becomes celebratory).

All things in the chores category must happen automatically. I am trying to design my life so that it runs on autopilot. I am far from it, but I will reach there.

C. Commute. I mentioned that already.

D. Productivity porn. This is a topic for a blogpost in itself. May be I will write on this tomorrow.

I am sure there are more. This is a great list for the time being.

Thing is, I dont know if these "hacks" will lead me to live a more fulfilled life but in my head, I am calmer and less anxious about things. Rather than worry about what kind of cuisine I want to eat, I can worry about ways in which I will reach my two ultimate goals in life.

I do understand that this is not for everyone. Not everyone is as "mission-oriented" as I am. I dont even know if there is a purpose to this obsession with the mission. But in my head, I cant do the maths of living and NOT doing something that makes the world a better place.

And how do you do it? By creating great work and by leading as an example and inspiring others to do the same.

And no, I still dont have an answer to quip by the lady.

Thats about it. Should you take inspiration, tell me what you did to save time. What are your time sinks? What do you do to save time? Help me become even more efficient. Please.

P.P.S.: I still suck at ending these notes. Look at this one for example! 

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