Time as a currency

Time is a currency. An equally distributed currency. We all have 24 units of it in a day. 1440 if you like to measure time in minutes. It doesn’t matter how privileged you are, each day, you have the same amount of time as everyone else. It doesn’t matter if you have lots of money to spend in a day and want more time to spend it, you are given exactly the same amount of time. Advantage that you have as a rich person, is that you can pay other people to do things you don’t enjoy doing, and focus on doing things that you enjoy doing. More like trading some of your money for more time. That way you can accomplish multiple things in parallel.

Poor people don’t have such a luxury. They cannot pay someone to do laundry for them, so that they can focus on doing things that they enjoy doing. They cannot afford to pay someone to cook for them, while they watch soapies on TV. They have to do it for themselves. That’s after working for someone to afford basic needs like shelter, food and clean water. Poor in this context means people who cannot pay someone to do household chores for them.

Research [1] conducted by researchers from British Columbia and Harvard Universities, found that people who trade money for time by outsourcing household chores like cleaning and cooking, live happier lives. So money does buy time after all. So the old adage that time cannot be bought is no longer applicable. Just like a a computer processor with multiple cores can do more things in paralle, those who can afford can also do things in parallel. As someone who is poor, you cannot trade money for time because you have little of it. You actually trade some of your time each working day for money. Whatever you are left with, you have to cook and clean your house using it. On top of that, you still need to find time to do the things that you enjoy doing.

Which brings us to the question, how do I maximise the time that I have on my hands? You have to be selfish with your time. You must stop donating your time to people who aren’t paying you money in return. Only donate your time when you have more of it in your hands. Don’t put off doing your own things in order to do things for other people who won’t pay you. You have same amount of hours in a day. Stop honouring every invitation. Stop watching too much TV. You don’t need to watch all soapies playing on all TV channels each day. Only rich people have that luxury. Ironically, it is the same rich people who avoid watching too much TV. The very same people who have more time in their hands because they bought more time from poorer people by outsourcing their chores to them.

That extra time can be exchanged for money that you are lacking. When you have lots of time in your hands and less money, shouldn’t you be trading it for money instead of dishing it out for free? I have a strict policy of not helping anyone during weekdays. I reserve weekdays for myself. I can only donate some of my weekday’s time to someone else in an extreme case. If you are still trading your time for money, you need to start viewing time as an exchange medium. You sell it to people who give you money in return. Fellow poor people like you must simply find a way to maximise their time and stop using you as their personal slave.

[1] Ashley V. Whillans, Elizabeth W. Dunn, Paul Smeets, Rene Bekkers, and Michael I. Norton. Buying time promotes happiness. PNAS, 2017 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1706541114

Sometimes I don’t finish what I have started

They say winners never quit and quitters never win. Most people misinterpret this statement and think it is never OK to stop doing something before you finish it. Sometimes you have to stop doing something before you finish it and focus on doing something else. When you can see that something you are doing isn’t going to be beneficial, it is OK to quit. Life is too short to do things that you aren’t enjoying and not beneficial. Your time in this world is limited. Don’t spend it doing things that you don’t enjoy doing.

If you aren’t enjoying a book you are reading at the moment, it is OK to stop reading it. Sometimes it may not be the right time to read that book. Maybe you are just not in the mood for reading. You don’t need to force yourself to read it to the end because someone told you to never quit. It doesn’t matter if everyone is reading the book, if you aren’t enjoying it after 20-30 pages, it is OK to put it away. Don’t feel guilty.

When a movie you are watching is not enjoyable, it is OK to stop watching. You don’t need to force yourself to watch it till the end. There is no way that you will be able to watch every movie released. Around 700 movies are released each year. That’s only counting Hollywood movies. Not counting Bollywood, Nollywood etc. It is just impossible that you will watch all of them. Even the ones you watch, it is impossible to enjoy all of them. If not enjoying the movie, stop watching.

Which brings me to the question of when should I close my business? You will know when it is time to close it, but if unsure, here are some of the hints that will tell you that it is probably the time to close the shop and try something else. When you no longer have passion for it, it may be time to quit. When you go for days without doing anything to work on growing your business, it may be time to quit. When thinking about your business, depresses you, it may be time to quit. It is OK to quit when you feel you are wasting time on a business idea that isn’t working for you.

I try to avoid using outliers like Bill Gates when making examples of people who had to quit something in order to pursue something better, but sometimes to emphasise a point, you have to use those famous outliers. Microsoft wasn’t Bill Gates’ first business idea. If he stuck with Trafodata, Microsoft wasn’t going to happen. Facebook wasn’t Mark Zuckerberg’s first attempt at building a social site. If he stuck with facemash, facebook was probably never gonna happen. We were probably gonna be stuck with Orkut or Myspace. It is OK to quit something that isn’t working out and focus your time and energy on something better

Time is a limited resource, use it wisely. It is OK to change direction. It is OK to downsize. It is OK to dropout on something, and drop into something better. Something that you will enjoy. Failing through quitting isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing is being stuck doing something that is not working out for you.