Time amplifies

The small choices we make on a daily basis either work for us or against us. One choice puts time on your side. The other ensures it’s working against you. Time amplifies what you feed it.

~ Shane Parrish from, https://fs.blog/small-steps-giant-leaps/

I don’t truly know if I’m unique. For me, the only way I can manage to feel as if I’ve enough time in my day is if I’m ruthless with myself about not giving my time away. I’ve spent so many decades feeling harried and busy… only to realize, duh, I did that to myself. I’ve spent so many dark days simply wanting some peace… only to realize, duh, all this craziness, I chose that. Somehow, I managed to slowly let this same idea Parrish mentions seep into my bones. Now I feel like I’m able to relax and simply experience being, through most of my days. Sometimes, I even take naps. My 25-year-old self would be horrified.

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Busy

Every time people contact me, they say, “look, I know you must be incredibly busy…” and I always think, “no, I’m not.” Because I’m in control of my time. I’m on top of it. “Busy,” to me, seems to imply, “out of control.” Like, “oh my god, I’m so busy. I don’t have any time for this shit!” To me, that sounds like a person who’s got no control over their life.”

~ Derek Sivers

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The second payment

But then, in order to make use of the thing, you must also pay a second price. This is the effort and initiative required to gain its benefits, and it can be much higher than the first price.

~ David Cain from, https://www.raptitude.com/2022/01/everything-must-be-paid-for-twice/

This is such a clear and important point! I’ve never seen it put in just this way, but it will be forever how I talk about the true costs of things, experiences and opportunities. There’s what feels like a variation of Occam’s Razor here too: Even if you understand the second price, don’t buy things, (through payment of money, time, or allocation of storage space,) unless you are also ready and able to make the second payments. If not, leave those opportunities for someone else.

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Today

I don’t complain about the lack of time… what little I have will go far enough. Today—this day—will achieve what no tomorrow will fail to speak about. I will lay seige to the gods and shake up the world.

~ Senece, Medea, 423-5

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Net and scaffold

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.

~ Annie Dillard

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Also useful

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.

~ Annie Dillard

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Annie Dillard is right. Also useful for defending against chaos: Principles. Morals. Visualization. To be clear: My first word, “also,” is critical. I’m completely onboard with a schedule. But for me, since I’ve got schedule (and process and optimization and organization) dialed in, I’ve moved inward to more difficult topics of consideration. I find I’m asking myself—continuing Dillard’s metaphor—did I put the scaffolding in the right place?

And even more chin-scratchingly interesting: Am I done with this labor? And should I take the scaffolding down, so that I can set it up somewhere else?

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Which hour to value

However, the value of saving the marginal hour today is to increase the total number of one’s working hours by one, resulting in a new hour at the end of one’s career, not a new hour at their current skill level.

~ Mark Xu from, https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/beK9RBjMfkeSyqYTe/your-time-might-be-more-valuable-than-you-think

I’ve made the point that it’s endlessly useful to put an explicit value on my time. I believe my logic and reasons still hold. But this idea, about needing to consider the value of the additional hour towards the end… well that, I’d never thought about. Which is daft of me, because I do often think about the marginal cost of things, and this idea is simply pointing out the marginal value gained by saving something now.

Hopefully, my occasionally marking, “duh,” on my map as a reminder to myself, helps you in some way.

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How to refuse

One of life’s great lessons lies in knowing how to refuse, and it is even more important to refuse yourself, both to business and to others. There are certain inessential activities—moths of precious time—and it is worse to busy yourself with the trivial than to do nothing. To be prudent, it isn’t enough not to meddle in other people’s business: You must also keep them from meddling in yours. Don’t belong so much to others that you stop belonging to yourself.

~ Baltasar Gracián

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Set a value

They take no notice of it because it has no substance and is not a visible entity, and therefore it is reckoned very cheap, or rather completely valueless. Annuities and bonuses men are very glad to receive, and hire their labor and effort and industry out to obtain them. But upon time no value is set; men use it as carelessly as if it came gratis.

~ Seneca

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