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Tracking Every Minute I Waste

Mustafa Sultan
Mustafa Sultan
Once you move out of your childhood home, on average, you’ve used up 93% of all of in-person time with your parents (The Tail End — Tim Urban). It’s a similar story with your siblings.
This made me think about how I use my time. Am I properly using it? Or am I sucker for inertia? Will I have regrets on my deathbed?

Time left with your parents (grey) once moved out
Time left with your parents (grey) once moved out
Value of Time
An interesting approach is to calculate a rough hourly rate for your free time. Then keep this in mind when choosing how to spend it.
This is an excerpt from the Naval Podcast — the most valuable bit of content I’ve consumed.
No one is going to value you more than you value you. Set a high personal hourly rate, and stick to it. When I was young, I decided I was worth a lot more than the market thought I was worth. And I started treating myself that way.
Factor your time into every decision. Say you value your time at $100 an hour. If you decide to spend an hour driving across town to get something, you’re effectively throwing away $100. Are you going to do that?
The Value of Time Calculator takes you through a series of thought experiments to calculate how much you value your time.
It calculated that I value my free time at £84/hour. Some interesting implications of this:
1️⃣ I shouldn’t work locum shifts (overtime) for under £80/hour.
2️⃣ Spending an hour to return something worth <£100 is a waste of time unless the Post Office is en route. Much better to just give it to someone.
3️⃣ Negotiating on price is probably a decent use of time. For example, spending 15 minutes to negotiate £500 off the price of your car would mean you are earning £2000/hour.
Wasting Time is Contextual
Despite my love for Naval — I’ve not found this framework particularly useful. Mainly because wasting time is contextual.
I think my 20 most productive hours in the week are probably worth more than £100/hour. Time spent on the important non-urgent tasks in the Eisenhower Matrix.
But the 20 least productive/lowest energy hours in my week, times I wouldn’t be doing anything useful anyway are worth less.
Tracking Wasted Time
I don’t think every second should (or can) be productive — but I am keen to cut out total wastes of time: YouTube rabbit holes, refreshing Twitter, most of my Instagram usage.
I think all of the above are not only a waste of time, but in broscience terms: They do something to the dopamine circuits in my brain which is detrimental to the rest of my day.
Learnings from Tracking Wasted Time
1️⃣ I waste less time than I thought.
2️⃣ It’s useful to have an activity to do in those 5/10 minute dead zones in the day. I like the Kindle app for this.
3️⃣ I waste a lot of time in bed on my phone in the morning. This is a bad start to the day.
4️⃣ I waste more time on days off than on work days.
5️⃣ Tracking wasted time doesn’t really account for busywork; time spent doing useless tasks which feel like work.
6️⃣ I feel good about watching a TV show if 1) It’s planned 2) I do it after getting my day’s work done 3) It’s high quality content. The worst thing is trying to find something to watch in the middle of the day. That’s a total waste of time.
What I'm Consuming
🧠 it’s beautiful, i just don’t always see it by Ava [article].
The biggest way I’ve surrendered is by letting go of my anxiety. And I had a lot of anxiety to let go of. Part of that was the overt always-worrying-about-worst-case scenarios part of it. But another part was the general tension that bled into everything. I’ve always been so tense. And the tension has been useful maybe 5% of the time. But it bled in the other 95%. It’s like looking down and realizing you’ve been white-knuckling what you assumed was a terrifying roller coaster ride when it was actually a gorgeous scenic drive. And now you’re like, wait lol, I didn’t even bother to look around.
🐵 Sicko Mode Inc. (Gorillaz x Travis Scott) [YouTube].
🌎 The Network State: How to Start a New Country by Balaji Srinivasan [Book Pre Order].
💊 20VC: Mark Cuban on Reshaping the Pharmaceuticals Industry [Podcast]. The US pharmaceutical industry is obviously a joke. I’m a big fan of people seeing a problem and just setting out to fix it on their own. Mark Cuban has launched; selling drugs at cost + a small markup. Hopefully to pressure the rest of the industry to set sane pricing.
I’m experimenting with putting video highlights of my podcast on YouTube. I don’t have any delusions of going viral, but I hope that the YouTube algorithm can help surface my podcast to the right niche who find it interesting.
With warmest wishes,
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Mustafa Sultan
Mustafa Sultan @mustafasultan

Thoughts on healthcare, human optimisation and productivity. A little taste of what I'm thinking and reading about.

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