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Mental Models - Discretionary Time ⏰
You might have thought about how much discretionary income you have, but have you thought about how much discretionary time?
What is discretionary time?
Discretionary time is the time you have left over, once you’re finished with work or chores or other essential tasks.
Authors of the book Discretionary Time: A New Measure of Freedom, explain in more detail things you have to take care of first:
You have to satisfy bodily necessities: you have to spend at least a minimal amount of time eating, sleeping and otherwise taking care of your body.
You have to satisfy financial necessities: you have to spend at least a minimal amount of time securing the cash that you need to purchase the things you need from the cash economy.
You have to satisfy household necessities: you have to spend at least a minimal amount of time cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids and otherwise keeping your household functioning.
Whatever time you have left over, you can use at your discretion.
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Why is this interesting?
How much time do you have to use to use at your own discretion?
How do you use it?
The authors of Discretionary Time contend that the amount of discretionary time we have is as significant as our financial resources.
We are often concerned with how much money we have, and many of us focus less on the resource of time.
The philosopher Seneca wrote:
People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy.
It’s worthwhile pondering how important discretionary time is to you, and if you want more if it, how might you be able to carve it out?
I’ll leave you with some more confronting but encouraging Seneca:
It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested. But when it is wasted … we are forced at last by death’s final constraint to realize that it has passed away before we knew it was passing. … Life is long if you know how to use it.
Want to go deeper?
💎 The Busy Trap is a top piece of writing - and a bit of a ode to enjoying your discretionary time.
👩💻 I’ve done a time audit before and it was illuminating. Here’s a PDF if you want to do it a lo-fi way. I also just redownloaded RescueTime time tracking app, here’s my referral link if you want to try it too.
📖 Seneca is a must read, On The Shortness of Life is so much value for $0.99!
…[the executive] needs large chunks of time and [knows] that small driblets are not time at all. ….even three-quarters of the working day are useless if it is only available as fifteen minutes or half an hour there. The final step in time management is therefore to consolidate the time that …[is] under the executive’s control.
📖 Most of us will have roughly 4000 weeks in our lives.
The outrageous brevity and shimmering possibilities of our four thousand weeks.
Revisit related mental models
🧠 Build your latticework
Scarcity Bias it’s scarce, but is it valuable?
Regret Minimization Framework what might you regret not doing?
The Boiling Frog are you being slowly brought to a boil?
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