Having finally watched Interstellar I can call myself something of an expert on the space time continuum. Today i’d like to share some of this high brow stuff with you in order to help improve your quality of life.
The notion in the movie that stuck out was how to fold time using a wormhole to take it from being a linear 2-D concept into a third dimension where you could move through vast distances in a short space of time, a you can (perhaps) clearly see via the image below.
Now, I have to admit, I did nap a bit during that movie, so I think I got it right.. but anyway, here’s the corollary that I drew from it, and why.
If we think of time as purely linear, and therefore each second of the day is equal to another, we make bad decisions. Instead, we should think of it as peaks and troughs. For example, an hour of sleep is not equal to an hour of exercise in the gym. Although both are necessary, one hour is ‘cheaper’ than the other. If you swapped the hour of exercise out of your day, it would make a huge difference.
Similarly, there is a very important part of your day in the evening, which I call ‘The Squeeze’. It fits between major barriers, those of work and sleep.
In this chart I show how transition times have more value than sleep and work time too, this could be the time that you spend making breakfast for the family, or using a commute effectively. Similarly this could be a less productive time if you don’t (or can’t) use it well.
The squeeze hours are limited further by transition (from work) to home, and dinner, which, if done correctly can offer equal ‘squeeze’ value, but often doesn’t. My diagram puts us into 2 hours of key time in the evening, after dinner and before bed. Clearly it could be longer or shorter based on circumstances. The question now, is, what is this time worth?
I’m talking about Manufactured Spend again, in case you hadn’t grasped that yet.
I hear many people say that they can use 1-2 hrs on their way home from work to buy $5000 in gift cards and liquidate them, earning (in the glory days) $250 prior to costs. That makes their hourly wage worth $125. Ideally these people aren’t earning $125 per hour when they think this is a good idea.. and as such they leap on the chance.
However, the thing that suffers is the ‘Squeeze’. These people aren’t going to go into the office 2hrs late and tell their boss they were out MSing so get over it. They are also not likely to give up sleep to manufacture spend. The Squeeze time though.. that’s dead time, so why not use it productively?
As my diagram would have indicated, I believe the Squeeze time is more important than work time and sleep time, but it is easy to forget that. To help understand, consider the salary and benefits you receive, and its purpose:
The income from a job does the following things:
- Provides debt service payments (pays student loans that got you the job in the first place….)
- Provides present day expense needs (spending)
- Provides future expense needs (saving)
It’s an important thing, don’t get be wrong, but we work for ‘the future’. The very notion of working for a living vs having financial independence is that we are giving up our free time today in order to build enough wealth to enjoy our free time tomorrow.
That means free time is very important. More so than your job, and more so than your sleep. You can both work your life away, or sleep your life away. Both have the word ‘life’ as the common denominator. Life is the free time. Life is the ‘Squeezed’ into these little gaps around commitments that you value more, such as working or sleeping.
Next time you are standing in line in a store to buy a gift card, consider the value of your 1hr of free time, and if this is the way to best spend it. Consider that you could be spending it connecting with a loved one, setting up a side business, studying for higher education, or any other number of things.