By BoLOBOOLNE payday loans

Economics of Personal Time

Please excuse a bit of rambling, but I’ve got a seedling of an idea I’d like to publicly explore.  The classic definition of economics concerns the allocation of finite resources to unlimited desires.  Resources here are physical goods and services that people buy or trade.  There’s only so much stuff in the world that people might want.  If you add up what everybody wants, it’s more than the amount of stuff available to go around — classically it’s infinite.  Economic systems manage this discrepancy.

I increasingly find myself facing a related problem: trying to allocate my finite time to seemingly unlimited desires to do stuff.  As I grow and learn there seems to be no limit to what I want to do.  Similarly, as I grow and learn and the world evolves around me, I seem to be genuinely able to accomplish more things in given amounts of time.  I think this feeds into my desires. 

How can I balance my time between all the professional goals, intellectual challenges, social activities, physical adventures, artistic pursuits, etc. that interest me?  The realization of this parallel between personal economics and classical economics gives me a hint that there are systems out there.  I’m going to think about market-based systems for allocating my time towards achieving my goals.  I wonder if I can do this without explicitly stating and prioritizing them.

Another tool that might be useful include meditation.  These unlimited desires often give me a short-attention span, maybe even A.D.D.  My good buddy Mez suggested some basic meditation as a way to help focus the brain.  I’ve been trying it for the last few days and I can already see some benefits.

  1. ASG says:

    Leo, not sure if it will help, but Pat Gelsinger, Intel EVP, wrote a book called: Balancing Your Family, Faith & Work. (amazon link below) Heard it's a quick read, and may have a tidbit or two to apply to your dilema. From a work perspective, I perceive that he's accomplished a lot of what he's wanted to do…ASG

  2. Casey says:

    With regards to the 4 Hour Work Week and Tim Ferris I really enjoyed the book. It's not so much about only working four hours a week as it is about having the freedom to do the things that you think about wanting to do but can never find the time to do. Though I agree, at this point he is rather over-hyped and not all of the information in his book is practical. For me the book provided an interesting perspective that I don't typically get.

    I'd really recommend reading it. While some of the content may not be directly applicable the book as a whole was really good and provides and interesting perspective.

  3. Deepak says:

    Tim Ferris has some interesting ideas, but I also feel he is way overhyped. A lot of what he suggests is very impractical, and frankly, I'd get thoroughly bored with a 4 hour work week.

  4. leodirac says:

    I spend so much time managing my social calendar over e-mail I've decided to outsource that function to India. "Let's have dinner some time." "I'd love to. Here's my public free/busy ICAL data, or work with my assistant to find some time." I just haven't made the time to make that transition yet.

  5. Josh says:

    Amen! this is a huge problem of mine. Too many passions aka hobbies.

    I agree with the discipline comment… well, discipline combined with some heavy drinking… or just the heavy drinking.

    But seriously, I saw this guy speak at the ignite session for web2expo, it sounded interesting but I haven't read it:

  6. Deepak says:

    As someone in a similar boat (OK, perhaps not the physical adventures part), I once wondered if I could calculate a NPV for everything I wanted to do. In the end, I gave up. How do you assign a value to intellectual fulfillment.

    The one necessary ingredient is discipline. With discipline you will do a reasonable number of things well. Without it, you will end up doing many things poorly. I suspect meditation serves to provide you with some discipline.

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