On Time Management

If you cherish time, time cherish you.

I find that, no matter what we do, there is a universal problem that pertains to us all–time.

And when we look at the practicality side of human problems, it’s always about time.

How to utilize time effectively, or how to manage time, has been a historical set of knowledge for all high-end workers, or managers, or rulers.

No matter the scale, the range or the complexity of a project, in the end, we are dealing with time. We are looking at those seconds and how we can spend them. You can make a big plan with something, but when you actually look at the time, you’ll see your capabilities and limitations.

Time, is the judger of us all. And time, sets realistic boundaries for human activities.

Especially in modern times, businesses function on a second basis. (And it is still narrowing.) If it’s 50 years ago, businesses functioned on an hour basis. And 200 and 300 years ago, they were on a day basis.

Focus on time, that’s where you actually contemplate and plan. And time is universal, it goes across all backgrounds, species and regions. No matter who you are, there is one thing we’re in common, we are all under the same time. Unless you’re talking about the time skewed point–singularity, in deep space. But you’re not there. 

24 Hours a Day, 8 Hours of Sleep

We have 24 hours a day.

A normal human being sleeps 8 hours a day.

Now there are 16 hours left.

Now let me introduce the concept of Necessity Time. Despite sleep, necessity time is the time you have to spend for yourself every single day. No matter where you go, who you are, and what you do. It’s the time for everybody, and everybody needs this time. And what is it exactly?

The time you spend for your meals. Remember, 3 meals a day. The time you spend for commuting, or transportation. The time you spend for catering to your body. The time you spend for necessary chores.

And for this necessity time, I give it an average 5 hour basis.

And now you have 11 hours left.

And for these 11 hours, you take 8 hours for work, for normal working hours and no overwork.

And now you have 3 hours left. And these precious 3 hours, are all the world you got, for your own personal free time.

Let me run down on necessity time again and why it is 5 hours.

You take 1 hour for 1 meal, 3 hours, for 3 meals. 1 hour, for commuting, or any other distance travel with transportation give or take. 1 hour, for taking a shower, taking out trash and other chores you need to tend to.

And necessity time can go up and down around this span considering your individual situation. You can all of these things done by others so you can enjoy a 3 hour basis. Or even more if you have job-related situation, it can go up to 7 hours.

So deducting necessity time and your average sleeping time, now you got the actual time you can spend for your activities. Let it be body activities, or brain activities. It depends on your work, and the things you do.

Frankly, most people spend 8 – 10 hours a day for their work. If they spend 10 hours a day for work, great, now they only have 1 hour left for their own free time.

Free Time

What is free time used for? Everything!

You need these free time to reconcile your relationship, or to cultivate one. You need the time to spend with your family. You need the time for your personal research. You need the time for you to relax or just entertain yourself. You need the time to read a book. You need the time to meditate or contemplate.

You need the free time for your personal development.

Many people don’t know, but seriously, work takes up most of their own time and two other chunks of their time is spent completely on unconscious things. Divide 24 hours by 3, you have 8 hours for 3 sections of your day. 1 section for sleep, 1 section majorly for necessity time, and 1 section for work.

You only have 1 tiny teeny section of 8 hours that you are conscious, you’re freaking conscious.

You spend your necessity time doing basically unconscious things. You don’t think when you eat. You don’t think when you take a shower. And you definitely don’t think when you commute. Sure you “can” think, but if you think during these activities, it’ll automatically increase the necessity time and you’re going to make up for it with your work time. And then, you have literally zero free time to do anything for yourself. Like, meaningful things, for yourself.

If you hate your work, then, congratulations, now you’re on a viscous cycle that forever fucks you up and you have little free time to get out of it.

This is the reason why time is so important. IT CERTAINLY IS.

I remember a first-hand experience when I was in Vancouver.

One day I needed to switch my living spot from a neighborhood to another close neighborhood.

I called a cab service earlier the day however I was not informed about the service I had chosen, the operator was very vague and in a hurry.

When the cab drove in front of the house, the driver was angry that I asked him to just move me from point A to not-very-far-away point B. Because the driver was on a “time-call”.

Time-call is a service that you call specifically from point A, to airport. Cab drivers survive on this service.

He was angry because I wasted his time on this. He could’ve taken this time for other customers that actually need to go to the airport and make good money for it. And now he could only take me for a short distance and charged me for just a few bucks.

Although I was innocent for the mistake, I did apologize to him for calling the wrong service.

And after this incident, it poked me deep inside my brain that time is not to be trifled with. People here value time, and value it a lot.

Time is money. And moreover, time is more than money.

We don’t really use 24 hours a day. We use only 11 hours.

And put serious consideration on how you utilize these 11 hours. They suffice the fundamentals of your life because these 11 hours are conscious hours, where you know what you are doing.

Put huge emphasis on the things you want to focus on these 11 hours. Make 6 hours out of them for your big project. Or more. Make it good quality. And other 5 hours for personal development.

Personal Development

The point of free time is simple.

Considering how much time you use for your work. When one is working, one is basically applying his knowledge onto his work.

Applying knowledge is a process that facilitate learning. It’s the last step of learning. Because learning is, observing – analyzing – understanding – deconstructing – applying.

And a piece of knowledge can be applied a million of times without new knowledge adding to its own set.

Personal development is a process where you add new knowledge into your brain.

You do this constantly when you’re in school.

But now since you’re not in school, you are doing robotic work every day for 8 hours and more.

Frankly, any time that is used for not adding anything new to yourself is a waste of time.

Consider turning a pipe for a living. You know the movement from birth. Or after your graduation of some trade school.

You felt excited when you first turned a pipe for work. Or maybe not, maybe you didn’t feel anything.

Now, turn this pipe a thousand times.

What do you get after a thousand times? Better at turning this pipe, right?

But did you get anything else? Nope, you did not.

If our economy is in lack of pipe turners, then you’re in luck. You are doing stupid shit and getting paid fairly well the same time.

But in reality, it’s the contrary. You don’t get paid well doing this. Because this is stupid shit that lacks value.

And how do you obtain value? By doing personal development. Adding more things to your brain, or to your body, to yourself.

School, does not stop, from physically being inside a school. Or more precisely, education, is a life long process you need to commit yourself to.

Pace

Now since you’ve understood how you spend your time, let’s focus on something that pertains to time. Pace.

Pace is the speed of your work.

The amount of work divided by the amount of time you put in, is pace.

WORK / TIME = PACE

The amount of work divided by the amount of time you put in, factored with the amount of output you produce, is efficiency.

OUTPUT * (WORK / TIME) = EFFICIENCY

Knowing one’s pace is crucial to one’s efficiency and how one wisely sequences his time. 

Every single person works on different paces. And knowing your own pace is the defining standard of your life style and how you cope with different situations. 

Some people, work on a berserker pace, that they are extremely workaholic and still perform relatively well under such pace. Huge amount of work only puts them into a spree of relentless performance. If I’d give this pace a number, it’ll be 1.2. And under such constant pressure and fast pace, it’s detrimental to one’s health. Many people under this pace have health issues because how they go against their bodies to work.

Some people, work on an average pace. These people work 9 – 5 jobs and follow the schedule and workload by the book. How much work you give them, they finish them for you, and they would never give extra hours like the berserkers above. These people work a 1.0 pace.

Some people, work relatively slow. These people can not finish the workload given by superiors on time and can not follow the schedule diligently. They function on a 0.5 pace. It’s slow, and usually they don’t get things done in a set timeframe. Their pace is much slower than the business world and you’ll mostly find these people being farmers, teachers, fishers and other relatively “relaxing” jobs.

Some people, work not very fast. These people are relatively slow compared to 1.0 and 1.2. They function on a pace that gives them more leeway on problems. The 0.2 difference gives buffer time to most problems. I give this pace a 0.8. And such pace is under full-on work mode, and beyond lazy slow pace, just the spot that gives you relatively lax schedule and enough buffer time for you to push yourself into work.

Know your pace, it is important to see how you work with different paces and how well you’re suited for different paces.

The Models of Quality and Quantity

Let me show you a couple charts of the models.

The Quantity Model presents a simple idea.

Quantity will go proportionally with time.

The first chart, if you look at low work/time, which is low pace, and high output, usually it indicates quality. High output, high pace, indicate efficiency. Because efficiency = speed + quality.

High pace and low output indicate low efficiency. And low pace and low output indicate low produce.


The Quality Model depicts that quality always goes proportionally with time.

And there are several quality levels, from top notch to very bottom: A, B, C, D.

Usually quality does not go proportionally with quantity, because high quality conventionally indicates low quantity, and high quantity indicates low quality.

However, the crossing point is where technology comes in. Humans utilize the benefits of tech and forces mass production of high quality products.

However, in order to have massive high quality products, it is necessary to have high comprehensive abilities to assemble talents, enough experiences to command such operation and make it very cost-effective.

Over time, the difference between quality and quantity is very obvious.

In the near foreseeable future, quantity surpasses quality by speed and scale.

In the relatively long term, quality slowly catches up and wins quantity by scaling and reflects huge value. However quantity still stays the same because it doesn’t change its internal structure over time.

Zoom out to the big picture, quantity appears to be fatigue in the end due to many realistic problems quantity needs to face–low quality, not cost-effective, stale inner structure and not adaptable towards time. Whilst quality still climbs the hill by sharpening its edge, and over time, more people put more value on quality against quantity. Because it’s simple, quantity can not sustain the test of time.

Quality and Craftsmanship

Whenever one is doing something, I’d like to point out the fact of craftsmanship.

Japanese on this matter are doing far better than any of us.

They chase perfectionism, make operations cost-effective (there’s a business model called Lean Operations, which specifically entails how to be cost-effective with limited waste), and invest onto time to make their products and services perfect.

It’s the simple idea of craftsmanship.

Only through time, can you prove how valuable is something.

The idea of craftsmanship requires simple catering to one thing, however, such catering needs to be practiced every single day.

Constant catering to one skill makes the skill sharp, and even perfect.

Sometimes, you’re aiming to be perfect, but you may never get to that point. Then you’ll constantly revise and adapt, constantly improve your model.

Such process creates massive amount of value towards something you cater to.

You do one thing, and you do it good. You do one thing, and you do it with your heart. You do one thing, and you push it with your soul. 

If you value time now, time values you back later.

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