How Much Less Should You Do?

The question often comes up when talking about efficiency, "Is there a limit?" If you spend all this time making sure you don't have to do things, than what are you left with. More importantly, if we make it so we don't have to do the things we don't want to do, are we really just being lazy?

The answer of course, depends on what your goals are. You have to ask yourself what do you really want to be doing with your time. Sir Ray Avery has a very rational albiet macabre way of looking it things. He figures that when we are born we are given 30,000 days of life. He is now 65 which means he has roughly 5,000 days left according to his system. Now, this is not a fun exercise but a useful one. If you go to college for 4 years, that's 1460 days. Those days aren't gone of course because you should have gained all sorts of knowledge and experience in that time, but it's a chunk of time that is gone. Get a job that requires 10 years to make partner, 3650 days. Raise a child, 6500 days. Again, these are all wonderful experiences (especially that last one) but what about the not so wonderful stuff? Working in a job you don't like for a year, 365 days. Injuring yourself because of a lack of self care, maybe 180 days. Never pursuing your true dreams and goals, 30,000 days.

I often say in my classes that 95% of the things you spend your energy and resources on, are things that can be done by other people or even by technology. There is nothing more important to me than you being able to focus on the 5% that is unique to you. The thoughts that only you have, the help that only you can provide, and the joy that only you can experience. I want you to DO LESS, LIVE MORE. It is only by focusing on the things that we love that we can truly progress, not just for ourselves but society as a whole.

It's important to keep in mind that having someone else do the things you don't want to do doesn't make you better than them in anyway. No quite the contrary, those people or services are most likely better at doing those tasks. In a perfect world, work would be allocated to the best person for the job and collectively we could all progress much faster on things like flying cars, cures for diseases, and widespread economic prosperity. Global outsourcing markets like Elance are making this more and more possible but it's far from optimal.

So if you are anybody else ever questions your efforts to do less but get more out of life just remember 30,000 days.

So what are you doing to do today?

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