Time and winning in life


I’m sitting here, looking out of the window. Time is passing.

I’m fast approaching middle age. I’m not sure what I’ve achieved. Time is passing.

I’m writing this blog that nobody reads. You get the gist.

I struggle with time. I don’t know what it is. I certainly don’t know how to make good use of it. I definitely don’t maximise the number of hours I spend on what would traditionally be called productive tasks. I do lots of stuff that I feel I ought to do. I do much that I enjoy. I’m sort of lucky that life does not make me spend much time on the things that I hate to do.

For every article that I read about hacking time and making the most of every second there is another talking about the importance of rest and downtime. Even things that used to be downtime are now a tool for greater productivity. I am confused.

One of my favourite quotes about time is “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life”. This quote came from Charles Darwin, the world’s best-known scientist (yes I know, Einstein would probably have something to say about that). I love it because Darwin is famously known for having a work schedule that would be considered weak and lazy by today’s standards. I like what this implies a good use of time is.

I’m enjoying life. Could I be enjoying it more? Yes. Could I be enjoying it less? Certainly. Some of the things I could do today would make life worse today but much better tomorrow. But people always say you could die tomorrow. I genuinely don’t know what to make of it all. I want to get fit and healthy, but I also want a biscuit.

I procrastinate. I often have minutes, hours, days that pass me by. I have other days where I work intensely. The difference between these days? I do not know. My background and professional existence mean that I’m surrounded by ultra-focused productivity thoroughbreds, against whom I know I look like a lame pony.

So what do I do? How do I ‘win’?

What even is winning? For some, it is getting shit done. For others, it is living life with no regrets. All the long-term studies of happiness seem to point to hanging out with family and friends and working for something you believe in / having a sense of purpose, as the keys to value in life. In both these regards, I’m incredibly, stupendously fortunate. Does this mean that I carry on as I am? I’m currently exploring ideas to do things that, for me at least, carry an even deeper sense of purpose but by their very nature have a high likelihood of not making a dent in the world. Will I be wasting my time?

I’m trying not to swear too much as I write these blog posts, mainly because I know family members read them. I’m sorry, but I can’t help but swear to finish this post – for those of you with a sensitive disposition, please stop reading here.

Fucking time.

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