In March with everything shut down it seemed like all we had we time. No commutes to the office, no business travel, etc. My guess is that luxurious feeling has long since passed. Whatever the situation we have tendency to fill that time with activities which feel necessary in some sense. This sense of urgency has a tendency to make us miserable and sap us of our creativity.
Below are links to some recent posts that got me thinking about the relationship between time, wealth and creativity. My colleague Tony Isola at A Teachable Moment has some great life lessons including:
Money Buys Freedom Not Stuff: Right now, I work because I want to. That makes all the difference. There is nothing better than being in control of your day and those with who you interact. The earlier you understand this, the better. – Tony Isola
Oliver Burkeman has been writing columns at The Guardian for over a decade and his last article has ‘eight secrets to a fulfilled life.’ I would copy and paste the whole column if I could be includes this gem on time:
There will always be too much to do – and this realisation is liberating. Today more than ever, there’s just no reason to assume any fit between the demands on your time – all the things you would like to do, or feel you ought to do – and the amount of time available. Thanks to capitalism, technology and human ambition, these demands keep increasing, while your capacities remain largely fixed. It follows that the attempt to “get on top of everything” is doomed. (Indeed, it’s worse than that – the more tasks you get done, the more you’ll generate.)
The upside is that you needn’t berate yourself for failing to do it all, since doing it all is structurally impossible. The only viable solution is to make a shift: from a life spent trying not to neglect anything, to one spent proactively and consciously choosing what to neglect, in favour of what matters most. – Oliver Burkeman
Khe Hy has a great post up about how the most successful among us have found a way to focus on the work that most matters to them. As Hy notes, not feeling rushed is true wealth.
If time is the currency of achievement, why are some able to cash in their allocation for more chips than others?
And in a world of rapid fire Slack messages, daily episodes of The Daily and Zoom calls up the wazoo – who on earth has the right to not feel rushed? – Khe Hy
Last week I published a Q&A with Morgan Housel who has written about alternative forms of wealth including the ability to control one’s own time. My question to him was framed around the FIRE movement and I think it is a good way to wrap things up.
Tadas: A lot has been made over the past few years about the FIRE movement. I would guess you are in favor of FI, but not so much the RE. Any thoughts on the importance of owning your own time?
Morgan: Independence is so important because losing control over your time — someone telling you what to do and when to do it — is a universal pain. Being able to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want, for as long as you want, is the highest dividend money pays.
The problem with Retire Early is that most of what we “want” to do is productive work, contributing to society and using our skills. Some in the FIRE movement get that, and the FI just lets them work in a field they truly love on their own schedule. Others think they won the lottery when they retire, and they’re bored out of their minds in two weeks.
So how are you going to use your time?