Published 18th September, 2023

Cost of time


Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Time is precious. Even billionaires can not get back in time. Not even by a second. That’s why all of us like to enjoy life by spending time and money on things we like. And that’s good. Different people get peace by doing different things - singing, dancing, travelling, painting, reading and so on.

As I joined my first job after college, I found myself quite occupied. My weekdays involved 1.5-2 hours of travelling, apart from 8 (+1) working hours. Since then, life has been even busier. Earlier I thought - life would be hard to manage and I might not have time for a lot of things (or I’ll miss out on a lot of things). Today, I have this perspective:

Your life will have a lot of tasks and everything will have a priority. If something is important (and has priority) for you, you’ll find time for it.

The March 2020 (Covid) lockdown gave a fresh perspective to work and the workplace. Although there were already many companies that had a fully remote workforce, but rest of the world also (forcefully) shifted to a remote culture. Seeing the Delhi-Gurgaon traffic today (on the popular NH-8 highway), I’m sure 90-95% of the companies have reverted to work from office. Like most people, I was quite demotivated at the start of the lockdown because of fear and uncertainties ahead. I didn’t manage my day much apart from work and little exercise. With time I realised how much time I’m saving as compared to 2019 and I could utilise it in doing something useful.

People read about finance to invest wisely, and there’s a very popular term here called compounding. In very simple words,

Financial Compounding is defined as the re-investment of interest along with principal to achieve exponential growth over a long period. It is also called as “making money out of money”.

But if you think carefully, you’ll realise that compounding doesn’t happen only in finance. Knowledge compounding also happens. You might have seen this image somewhere:


As you might have guessed already, 365 here represents no. of days in a year. It simply means, that if your current skill set is at level 1, then tomorrow you can either be a 0.01 better version of it or worse (or same, maybe). Being a little better (or worse) every day has a non-linear impact in the long run (hence the exponential calculation). Coming back to compounding - it can be applied to all the good and bad things in your life. Sparing 15 minutes daily to learn a new skill can make you better at it in a few months. And if you’re able to spare an hour - you’ll surely master it :)

Still, the point is - who has the time for it? Is this even a priority? Whenever you find this challenge in your life, spend time looking back on your last 30 days’ schedule. Are you really not able to find the time for something new?

Technology addiction

If I ask you - How much time you’re spending on your phone, I bet you’ll give an underestimate. Most of us, including our parents, are spending more than 2 hours on our phones daily. For some people, this number is even larger. If you are not sure how much time you spend, install a tracker like this to see. And it’s not a surprise that most of this time is binge-watching web series or exploring the lives of other people (friends & “influencers”) on social media apps. Sadly, multiple generations are reducing boredom from their life by spending their time on their smartphones these days, without realizing that it leads to loss of creativity and reduced attention spans. For the younger generation, it can even lead to trouble in critical thinking (I’m not counting people who have to work using their phone because I assume they using it to do their work and not to kill boredom). If we’re able to reduce this time, we might be able to invest it somewhere else.

I’ve never been a smartphone addict, but I still work on reducing that time even further. A few months ago, I read a book called The 5AM club by Robin Sharma. The author talks about how a very small percentage of people achieve things that others just dream of. Such people prioritize their tasks and expose their minds to things that matter. Because they invest time in themselves, their knowledge compounds over months and years, and they see what others can’t.

Time is uniquely expensive. The faster you realize this, the more you’ll invest in yourself and reduce all the social media distractions. Thanks for reading this.