It's about 'Mind Space,' not time

Why stuff is more about mind space than time

Hey everybody,

I was chatting with a friend of mine when I blurted out this: “It’s never about time, you always have enough time, it’s only about your mind space.” As I dropped this bomb, I realized what I had said only as an afterthought. The simple point is that we all have enough time in our days to do the stuff we really want to. Let’s say you sleep for 8 hours, work for another 8, and doomscroll for 2 hours; you still have 6 solid hours per day to crank out some really important stuff.

Pro-rate these 6 hours per day to a full week, and you have another job of 42 hrs/week lined up for yourself. So, practically speaking, you could at least do another part-time job (if not full time), leaving out some time for socials.

Then, it’s not about whether you have the time to do something; it’s about whether your mind has enough space to accommodate the cognitive load to do that thing. That’s why we don’t work 10 jobs every week, or meet up with 10 friends every day, or watch 10 movies every day. You practically have the time to, say, meet up with 10 high school friends or watch 10 movies a day, but your mind will simply burn out.

And that’s why we should consider these two ideas:

  1. Essentialism
  2. Infobesity

Essentialism is “a disciplined, systematic approach for determining where our highest point of contribution lies, then making execution of those things almost effortless.” Basically, do less, but do it better.

Infobesity is “the difficulty in understanding an issue and effectively making decisions when one has too much information about that issue.” I will extend this to mean that whenever we have too much stuff to deal with, our brains just give up, and that’s why we should embrace essentialism.

So, that’s pretty much about it.

We have the time to do everything; we just don’t have the mind space. So, embrace essentialism and reduce infobesity.



Video of the week

Taking a trip down memory lane to talk about the three life lessons I learned while I was at Doon Schol.

Podcast of the week

Listen to this absolutely fantabulous podcast by Venkatesh Rao, where he talks of the “life go brrrrrrrrr” meme (an offshoot of the money printer goes brr meme.) Just fantastic.

(Ali is still recording his monologue, so that will be out on Half A Thought by tomorrow.)

Article of the week

This week is Ben Kuhn week! Absolutely follow Ben to read his fantastic work and his contrarian takes on common issues. A few things to begin with:

  1. You don’t need to work on hard problems
  2. I apparently got 50% better at my job last month (for some real, real productivity insights)
  3. Your room can be as bright as the outdoors (some even more actionable advice on setting up your workplace properly.)

There are other things also, about which Ben writes, like probability, math, software engineering, altruism, and tech.

IMO he’s a non-conventional, hard-to-find idea repository of actionable advice.