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Something to think about... / blog
Becoming Time Independent

Written by on October 14, 2013

What would your life look like if we measured it in Jelly Beans? This wonderful video answers that question:

The video illustrates how little time you have left for 'play'. But isn't the real goal to get humanity as close to being 'time independent', so that we can spend as much time as we want doing just the things we love?

For some (like me) that time will be spent working. Because I love my work and it's an important part of who I am. If someone came along and told me that I had won the lottery, I would hire another writer so I could free up even more time for writing (spreading the administrative tasks between us).

For others, work might not be as important. You might spend more time windsurfing or something.

But the wonderful thing about time independence is that once you start to have it, you also start to consider using that time for something worthwhile.

The reason we spend almost no time doing what we love, and 9% of our life watching TV, is because we spend so much of our time doing all those things we hate.

So the question is not what we will do with the time we have left. The real question is how can we change our world so that we don't have to spend that time to begin with?

  • Why are we spending 3 years of our life just commuting when we are all digitally connected?
  • Why are we spending four and a half year doing household shores when we could buy a robot?
  • Why are we spending so much time in an office for eight hours in a row, when study after study shows that it's one of the least efficient ways to work? Made even worse when companies foolishly believe that open offices boost productivity.
  • Why are you spending 5.7 years of your life just preparing food? (Of course, if you love food that's a worthwhile activity).

In many ways we are still living like any other animal. We are born, then we work to find something to eat ... until we die.

And remember, the 'play time' illustrated in the video isn't play time at all. It's the in-between time between all the other things we do. For instance:

  • You have five minutes of 'free' time between getting up in the morning and taking a shower.
  • You have another five minutes 'free' time between your shower and eating breakfast.
  • You have 7 minutes of free time after breakfast and before you have to jump into your car for your daily commute. Keep in mind that his time is usually spent trying to find your keys or deciding what shoes you want to wear.

These times then add up over the cause of your day, but it's not actually time that you can really do something useful with.

Of course, many of you would say that we should just stop watching TV. And I would agree (I hardly ever watch TV). But remember, watching TV is not an activity. It's a period of rest. Not just for your body but also for your brain.

If you plan to replace that with a period of activity you are going to burn yourself out. We all need rest, although I would argue that TV is not the best form of rest.

The real challenge is not what you would do with your 'left over' time. The real challenge is for us as a society to find ways to give you true free time that you can actually use.

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Thomas Baekdal

Thomas Baekdal

Founder of Baekdal, author, writer, strategic consultant, and new media advocate.


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