The un-fluidity of time (#SoGv2 - 41)

Time. Fluidity. And Tracking.

Wassup, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and children of ages?

Today is one of those slow days.
I don't know why.
I mean it started like any other day. I wrote a thank you post. I did some work. I tracked my time. I got myself a meditations journal where I will list things that define who I am. I even did 15 minutes of meditation.

But I guess what needs to be done has to be done - good day or bad. After all, time does not wait for your good or bad days.


Lemme talk of bettering how we think of time.

Most of us think of time as that continuous stream that we can't control and can't track. You know, how they say, time flies even if tomorrow never dies? That!

So, time is fluid. Ongoing. Never stopping. And because of this very reason, we take time for granted. You know, things that you were supposed to do today? How often have you pushed it to tomorrow thinking that its just one flip of the calendar?

Lemme digress for a bit. Talk of money.
You know how you take care of every penny that you have?
If I said that all you have is 7 lakh rupees in life and you can't make more and you have to live your entire life with just that much money. How would this change your behavior?
Will you be as frivolous with it?

And now, assume that you will live till 80. You'd have approximately 80 * 365 * 24 hours in life. About 7 lakh hours. And an hour once gone, is not coming back.

Now, imagine we break the fluid stream of time into 7 lakh chunks. Each hour you spend is like spending one rupee from an ever-depleting kitty of 7 lakhs. From a fluid stream, we now have distinct, separate chunks. Each chunk is important.

And here's the big idea of the day (after all this build-up).
What if you could measure these chunks? In a visible manner?

Get the drift?

Lemme connect this to what I wrote in SoGv2-32 (Deep Work). I wrote about how personal productivity can go up if you chunk your time into slots where you will be undistracted and work. Cal (the author of Deep Work) recommended that you divide your time in one-hour chunks and pick just one task in that chunk. You know those 7 lakh chunks?

Now, to me, one hour chunk of concentrated effort is way too much.

So, I divided my time into 15-minute chunks (you can divide into whatever size that works for you). And then I started following it like a man possessed. I made this sheet (you can make a copy if you'd like) and I have been tracking it religiously.

On this sheet, I track top 3-4 things that I want to do in the day and then have divided the day into 15-minute chunks. I track each chunk in terms of what I do there. Think of it a manual version of Toggl. I have become so particular about tracking time that I even record the time I take to take a shower.

I also use this sheet as my calendar. As I start my day, I add meeting times, commute times and other such things that I want to track. So, when I need to slot work, I can see that I have certain things planned during the day. You know, nothing replaces things that you can touch and feel. At least for me. And I've used all sorts of digital tools to make my life better and faster!

So, it's been 5 days since I have implemented this and I kid you not, I've become more productive than I've ever been. And the best part is, I know when I am fucking up! Like for example, today has been a really bad day for work and all. I have had 35 chunks where I wasted time. That translates into almost 9 unproductive hours. One whole day! Yesterday, in comparison, I had just 10 useless chunks.

The idea is that in the long run, on the maker days, I want to have 0 chunks where I did not make things. That would be the epitome of Deep Work!

Of course, to be able to do that, I need to track my time to an extent that everything is measured and tracked. And tells me where all do I need to plug the leakage. And eventually, stop wasting the most important commodity that we have - time!

Get the drift? Time is not fluid. It is scarce. It can be measured. In chunks. And it can be spent in a way that helps us make the most of it. If you start tracking it.

Let's make a deal to not waste time.

Oh, one more thing. Most of us reading this, about 2.5 lakh chunks (of the available 7 lakhs) are gone! What other kick do you need on your backside to get started?

Thanks for reading! Till next time,
1605, Red Brick Offices, Andheri, Mumbai. SoGv2-41

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TAGS: Time, Deep Work, Tracking, Habits, Paul Graham, Maker Manager, Life.


Please note that with SoGv2, I have split my letters in three (you get first two by default)...

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