Time Conversion Technique

Let's talk Time Conversion.

No, this isn't referencing an unbroadcast episode of Doctor Who, but a technique I use to help me with planning and organizing.  It involves metaphor, math, and imagination so it's a perfect technique for geeks who want to improve time management.

Some time ago, I believe on this blog (it's hard to recall with over two years of posts) I mentioned a trick of mine to help plan finance better.  This trick involves figuring out, when one spends money on something, what else that money could have bought:

  • Two fancy meals out is one new Console game.
  • In Silicon Valley, three months of rent would buy you two new Mac Laptops (ouch).
  • A new hardcover book would pay for five make-at-home meals.

You get the idea.

You can also do this with time.  When you spend a half-hour doing one thing, what else could you have done in that time?  Is that hour you spend on the train a waste, or could you take your DS or a book on the trip?  In that time you spend driving to a lecture on art would you be better off drawing?

Time may be money, so why not play around with figuring out how you can "spend" time – and when you spend time, what other things you could have done.

This is revealing (and at times depressing), but very useful.  We feel like we never have enough time, yet we often take it for granted as well.  Figuring out how time converts from one thing to another can wake you up to many possibilities.

Give it a try – or in short, take the time.

Steven Savage