Why more time?

Almost everyone at some point in their life has the thought, “I wish I had more time” or something along those lines. Often, we miss the larger question lurking behind this thought – “Why do I want more time?” This question aims to isolate the real life from the ideal life. The real life is the present – the one we are in right now. The ideal life is the life that we wish we were living.

Answering the question, “Why do I want more time?” forces us to think about what the ideal life would look like. The thought of wanting for more time arises out of a dissonance between thoughts and actions. What would I be doing right now rather than writing more lines of code? Where would I be eating my lunch rather than at my desk trying to attend a meeting? What would my ideal (future) life look like, and why is my present different? Follow the answers down the rabbit hole until you finally arrive at the true answer to the question, “Why do I want more time?” This is the why behind your ideal life. Knowing the real why is important. Otherwise we will likely end up making “choices of distractions” or, worse, living a life that’s not our own.

Imagine a life where you did not have to worry about time. What would you be doing then? There is the Stoic aphorism, memento mori, translating to “remember death.” There are also a plethora of insipid quotes asking you to live as if today was your last day on Earth. Instead of these (useful virtues), ask yourself, “If I had an infinite amount of time on Earth, what would I be doing?” Approach life with an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset.

Now we know the true reason why you want more time. We also know what the ideal life would look like. Clearly, we also know what reality looks like. Work backwards. Where does reality diverge from ideality. Where is the dissonance between thoughts and actions?

At this point, we should have enough answers and thoughts to find what the important things are in life and come up with a plan to “make more time” for them. This may involve giving up certain aspects and luxuries of life that we currently enjoy to make more room for the more important things. We may have to hit a hard reset. Sometimes, we may realize that the way out is to continue doing what we are doing because there is no apparently obvious way to move towards the ideal life, or because we are already on that path.

I like to think that the goal of this meditation is not to come up with a life plan, but to evaluate the state of life itself. Understand what you currently don’t find convenient with your time schedule and envision an alternate life where you wouldn’t feel the same way. Compare and contrast to identify how to move towards the latter. And this is definitely not a one-time thing. Whenever the temporal scarcity mindset kicks in, it serves as a cue to re-meditate on the dissonance.