A Quick Glimpse into Temporal Madness
Buckle your seat belts, we’re going in. The neuron sweatshop that is my brain is throwing the factory doors to the “Priority Chamber” in my mind wiiiiiiide open, just the way I like all my portals. Today I will explain why our most important resource is Time, and it’s not going to be pretty. This is a long post; the logic explained below influences virtually every decision I make every second of every day, including the manner in which I just answered my phone. Bring coffee, five hour energy or Jack Daniels, depending on your level of commitment to knowing the inner workings of my mind.
My brain is a difference engine which has been upgraded over time, and yes it has a Hemi. My rip roaring skull organ weighs and prioritizes absolutely everything of value in my life. The tangibles, intangibles, and the techniques which can be used most efficiently to acquire and maintain them are all the result of the priorities that we arrive at. Love, friendship, possessions, cognitive ability, a learned skill, money; these are the things that people value. In order for anything to have a quantifiable value, it must be quantified against something constant and that constant is time. Walk with me.
Unless you’re flying through space at blackhole [and probably whitehole] ripping speeds or you are a tachyon, time passes at the same rate for you as it does for me, so it is a constant. Another constant among humans is that each one’s time is for lack of a better word, finite. So your time should be as valuable to you as mine is to me. Even if you’re 17 right now I have an awful truth for you: it is very, extremely likely that you will not live forever. Sorry!
Now don’t get all cynical and depressy on me; the cold, universal slowly advancing inevitable embrace of mortality is not my point. I tried looking at life like a backwards clock or a countdown, and it made me worry about how much I could cram into my own session before time’s up. This is the WRONG way to look at life. The fact of the matter is that we’re all on a clock and that everyone’s clock is different…but the seconds still tick away at the same rate. Eeep!
Nothing can be more valuable than our time, because it’s the only thing that exists that we’ll never ever be able to get back. It’s the only currency that we all have that means the same to everyone. I’ll put that in perspective using money, which matters to most people. Even if you lost a lottery ticket that was worth $80 million you’d still have a better chance of winning another brand new $80 million lottery ticket next month than you do at ever getting even one minute of your time back. I don’t know what the odds are of winning two $80 million lottery tickets in two months, but they’re lower than the odds of being the only person to live forever out of all the humans who have ever existed. It’s science.
For this reason I believe it’s of the utmost importance for people to prioritize the things that they love, do the things that they love, and also do the people that they love. If you can think of a way to be more efficient at something without sacrificing your effectiveness, DO IT. Let’s say I find out there’s something I could change about the way I get ready for work that would give me an extra 30 seconds every day. Will I make a change in my day-to-day habits for that? You bet your sweet, supple ass I will. Even if I only have another year of precious life left, that 30 seconds per day would add up to another THREE HOURS of time. I didn’t even sacrifice anything to get those three hours; all I did was make an improvement, and I got rewarded for it with free time! Now pretend the gain is one hour a day, and I live for 30 more years? That’s over an extra year’s worth of time. If your time was up what would you pay for another year of life? Anything? Yes, duh, anything. But the goal shouldn’t just be to just make a given activity take less time, you must be careful that you don’t cheapen the outcome or the purpose of that activity. The quality of the outcome cannot decrease or else you sacrifice effectiveness, you silly ass.
I am constantly evaluating my own actions and looking for ways to maximize my efficiency. This doesn’t necessarily mean multitasking and it should never mean half-assing things because that would decrease effectiveness. I learned that this was bad as a little Bello. If I didn’t want to spend two hours raking the lawn so I did a shitty job in just one hour, I might get sent back out to re-rake the lawn all over again because I half-assed it the first time. Not only is that aggravating, but I probably lose extra time during the “negotiation process” (when my dad tells me to get out there and do it again) that I wouldn’t have lost if I had just bucked up and did it right the first time. Because of this, it might take even more time than it would have if I’d just done it right to begin with. Let’s even say I get away with it (this time), so I know that I may be able to reduce this particular two hour job to a one hour job in the future. This is bad because it’s not a guarantee; next time I might get caught. Instead of knowing for sure that the lawn always takes two hours to rake (if done correctly), I’ll have three estimates: maybe one hour, maybe two hours, maybe longer if caught. How can I effectively budget time for the rest of my afternoon to watch the new Kevin Sorbo made for TV Hercules movie with three separate estimates floating around in my brain? It starts at 4pm! You know I probably watched like all of those and I always thought ‘Maybe in this one they’ll show nipple’ and they never did, not once. You’d be lucky to even get some Lucy Lawless sideboob. Anyway if you know it might be one hour but then again it might be two or even longer, so now you have three separate valid estimates, which at that point makes budgeting no more effective than guessing.
Are there things that waste your time? If possible, fucking give them the ax! There will always be delays, but when you’re delayed use that time effectively. Since you know you’re not immortal, make sure you spend your time on/in something/someone that you’re passionate about! Hipsters or other unmotivated people could read that and think, “Well I shouldn’t take time to learn anything new then, if it’s just going to take too long.” Don’t be a hipster. Try your hand at new things; maybe you’ll find a new passion! Training/studying for something takes time because the pay-off is sick! What you have to decide is, if I spend [X] hours training studying etc, is that worth it to eventually be able to do/know [Y]? If not, what the Hell are you doing? Since purchasing it a little over one month ago, I have poured nearly 130 hours of my time into the game Reckoning, and I am fine with that. For all of those hours, I was doing exactly what I wanted to. In a way, those hours are pure. I wouldn’t reallocate those hours if I was magically given a choice, and I don’t expect to be. If you have an activity that you enjoy so much that you would do it for an average of 3.5 hours per day, Just Do It. Can I say that? Nike doesn’t read this right?
Relax! I’m not counting my own seconds down because I don’t have an expiration date stamped on my ass. Even if I did, I saw Gattaca for the first time recently so I know that the expiration date could be wrong anyway. However this DOES mean you should maybe look for ways that you can be more efficient with your time. Spend more of your time doing what you like doing and stop wasting your time on things that aren’t worth it. If you’re waiting for some reason (in line or in life), do something while you wait. I use my time the best ways I can think of, because my only guarantee is that I’ll never get that time back. Everything else is chance or probability (which is basically just well-honed chance). Think about it; what is jail? It takes your time – you stay still while the rest of the world advances without you. The only punishment our society has that’s more severe than taking your time is literally killing you. Don’t throw yourself in jail, or if you’re already there, BUST OUT!
This is the easiest section because all you need is a single blanket rule.
“In 50 years, will I be able to look back at this choice [action/inaction] and be happy about it?”
Coming Full Circle
I mean that’s not all of it, but it’s as much as I can put out there without getting into specifics or opinions. Now please, exit the Priority Chamber in a calm, orderly fashion.
Now, was writing this post worth my time? Was reading it worth yours? I can say if the tip of this priority iceberg of insanity enhanced even one person’s perspective, then it was definitely worth my time. That second question you’ll have to answer.