Time and Money

I found this today and thought it was a interesting discussion on how we use our time. It comes from Paul Graham a wealthy man who was discussing how after making a lot of money he was worried about losing it through investments that can make millions disappear in seconds. He then thought that spending one's time behaved much the same way and wrote this (the underlining was done by me).

The most dangerous way to
lose time is not to spend it having fun, but to spend it doing fake
. When you spend time having fun, you know you're being
self-indulgent. Alarms start to go off fairly quickly. If I woke
up one morning and sat down on the sofa and watched TV all day, I'd
feel like something was terribly wrong. Just thinking about it
makes me wince. I'd start to feel uncomfortable after sitting on
a sofa watching TV for 2 hours, let alone a whole day.

And yet I've definitely had days when I might as well have sat in
front of a TV all day—days at the end of which, if I asked myself
what I got done that day, the answer would have been: basically,
nothing. I feel bad after these days too, but nothing like as bad
as I'd feel if I spent the whole day on the sofa watching TV. If
I spent a whole day watching TV I'd feel like I was descending into
perdition. But the same alarms don't go off on the days when I get
nothing done, because I'm doing stuff that seems, superficially,
like real work. Dealing with email, for example. You do it sitting
at a desk. It's not fun. So it must be work.

With time, as with money, avoiding pleasure is no longer enough to
protect you. It probably was enough to protect hunter-gatherers,
and perhaps all pre-industrial societies. So nature and nurture
combine to make us avoid self-indulgence. But the world has gotten
more complicated: the most dangerous traps now are new behaviors
that bypass our alarms about self-indulgence by mimicking more
virtuous types. And the worst thing is, they're not even fun.

Interesting take, eh?

Actors can burn many, many hours in self indulgent activities masquerading as "actor's work". Knowing your self deeper or challenging your present habits to see if they still have constructive value is a good use of your time. I have written a lot about how killing time in life isn't the same as doing things that make you a better artist. So then,  how do you do that?

How do you know you're not just wasting time in the name of;  "Actor's have to do a lot of waiting around, so, I'm waiting patiently."

Well, what's in your mind at the end of your day? Any internal alarms go off during the day that made you feel like the day was slipping past without any input from you, but you just couldn't stop it? Was there a feeling of regret for doing something,  as you were doing it?

We don't get time back. It's the saddest fact of life. There isn't anyone alive who doesn't wish they could have back the time they wasted in their youth. Use this centuries-proven lesson as motivation to discover why you kill time, and why it's okay to do so, in pursuit of this coveted life in art.

Just as an experiment use the timer on your cell phone one day to measure how you spent your time. Start and stop it with every new thing you do. Drive time, reading time, Facebook time…see how you are spending you day.

No regrets? No problem. Career on track? Then all is well.

If not, time yourself for another day. Make notes on where and when it felt right and when that sour feeling of "there wasn't anything else to do" set in.

Be aware of wasting your time. It's as costly as wasting your money.

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