Saturday, October 31, 2020

Constantly Distracted

I feel constantly overwhelmed by too much work-email always in my inbox and too many instant messages. It's like this leak that constantly fills up a bucket in your house. However hard you try to empty the bucket, it fills in again.

I am sure many of you experience the same. To add to it, if I go away from my laptop, the constant instant messaging and new email from work on the phone adds to the stress! There really is no work-life balance. The entire life is "worklife". I wonder how other people manage this distraction? I have stayed away from social media for a long while now. This definitely has helped to reduce my other distractions.

I miss the good old days (more than a decade ago). Where you left your work in office when you left for the day. Work from home was limited to the days when you had to bring your work laptop home to do some work. And I needed approvals to get a laptop! Life was easy. There were no "Smartphones". All that could pester you were SMS and most of the times they were never work related.

I have a feeling this is just going to get worst before it gets any better. While I have been actively trying not to check emails on weekends and after office hours, it does not seem to help much. The more I think about this problem I realize that along with time, "attention" is my most important asset. I have to work towards constantly guarding it.

While 2021 is still far away to make resolutions, I hope I can really practice mindfulness and go on an attention diet.

Sunday, October 25, 2020


Sorry for disappearing for almost a month. Life changed suddenly (like it always does) and I am in the midst of that change. I will probably write about what I have "been through" in a subsequent blog post once I am through this.

If there is one thing that I feel we all have equal access to (regardless of race, wealth, color) is - time. Every human being on the planet gets 24 hours a day. Irrespective of how rich you are, you can't trade time and everyone is equally wealthy in terms of the number of minutes you have in a day.

We are obsessed with money, but if you are a middle-aged salaried man like me - you need to guard the finite resource - time - by trading away money to do things that take too much of your time. To value your time, you need to have an index cost to each hour of your time so that you can do a cost-benefit analysis of your "time" much more easily.

I know it sounds simple but this "cost-benefit" analysis can get really complex. There are some things we do with our time that are genuinely required. For e.g. spending time with family is priceless. Working out, eating, sleeping, daily ablutions are a required (mandatory) use of time. So then, this analysis is something we need to seriously do about the discretionary time (browsing, socializing, entertaining) that we spend. Or the chores (cooking, cleaning, paying bills) that seem to occupy all of your weekends. I know I have written about time-boxing before, so I am sort of repeating myself.

Anyway, this brings me to my last argument on this topic. As much as possible try to do the following two things with your chores:

  • Automate
  • Outsource

 If repetitive things can be automated (auto-investment, auto-bill-payment for e.g.) then do it! Save time on non-value added activities. If you can outsource boring, non-value added chores (filing taxes, washing, cleaning (to maids/ robots/ consultants)) then do it. Only DIY if you enjoy (entertainment) or have a health benefit (cleaning 1 hour is your workout of the week!) or it is really worth it (for you).