On any given day — particularly an unstructured, unexamined, unplanned day — we have an endless range of appealing channels to direct our attention. And we have endless ways we can invest our time to build an grow. It’s typically no contest which we’re more inclined to gravitate toward.
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it.”
In those terms, how expensive is that social media rabbit hole? How expensive is your Netflix subscription… measured life?
Every minute of activity costs the same amount of life. Yet the returns vary widely.
Some minutes spent provide a minute of benefit. Others provide many minutes of benefit. And the intensity per-minute of those returns-on-minutes vary greatly.
Money is minutes too. It’s a stored exchange for someone else’s efforts at a future date. A store of minutes.
With money you buy the minutes of others, instead of spending your own. They’re future-minute notes.
Sellers offer their minutes, so they can in turn store up on the future minutes of other people. These other people have a wider variety of skills, earned over time. Earned over many many minutes.
If an expert can do something faster because of skill, and can do it better — spend some of your saved future-minute notes to buy their current minutes. That’s better than spending your minutes to ineffectively struggle. Or if you’ll need a lot of that type of skilled minutes later, learn and make your minutes the quality of minutes you will repeatedly need.
Unless your minutes can generate an even greater quantity of skilled future-minute notes doing something else.
Leverage is applying technology, scale, reputation or some other force multiplier to get more minutes per minute. This is the real magic trick. Systems are feedback loops repeatedly applying leverage, performing the magic trick over and over and over again. Systems can be minute making machines.
But you can’t spend all your minutes accumulating more minutes, because when the music stops all your minutes vanish — current and future. That’s the catch.
A massive hoard of future minutes does no good without minutes to recoup the benefits. When spending minutes for minutes, you need to keep your eye on the clock. Because it takes minutes to cash-in on the return on minutes.
Minutes are the cost, and minutes are the reward. Treat them with due respect.