· 3 min read

Time Assets and Liabilities


Time is the most precious finite resource we have. We should make good use of it. If we do, we make time our ally.

Like any resource, one can think of time in numeric terms. This allows us to categorize activities as assets that add back time or liabilities, which take time away. Our goal then is to create more time-assets with high time-ROI.

80% of our activities during a given day are not new. They are merely routines.

So essentially, carefully observing, choosing, and forming our habits would lead to more time-assets and less time-liabilities. Usually, time-assets and time-liabilities are opposites of each other.

Most time-liabilities snap our attention and lead us to care about wrong things. Therefore, time-assets help us course correct. Therefore, time management is closely linked to attention management.

Most time assets are generatlly slower and more stuctured which is why they are usually avoided. Time liabilities on the other hand feel easy to get started with so they are done more. So, one needs to make it easy to get started on time-assets and harder to get started on time-liabilities.

Some of the most impactful time-assets and liabilities are:

Time-AssetsTime Liabilities
Planning: Even a little bit of planning, something like 10 minutes alone creating a written plan could save hours, days, or even years.

Planning allows course correction. Ideally, don’t start working without a plan.
Rushing: Though it may seem you are making progress. The probability is higher that you are moving in the wrong direction. It’s better to fix a plan
5 Min Rule: Don’t allow yourself to be down or procrastinate for more than 5 minutes.

During such time ask yourself: Is this worth the return on my time?

Remember you can’t live forever.
Forever Rule: The opposite of 5 min rule: Letting fear/laziness/indecision stop you.
WIP Limit: Focus on a few things and complete them. If your WIP limit is exceeded, don’t add work on newer tasks unless older ones are complete.Trying to change people: You cannot change people. You can suggest but cannot force. Leading by example. It’s the best option you have.
Pomodoro: Working in Pomodoros keeps you focused. If you can’t work with Pomodoro, you haven’t planned carefully enough.

To have Pomodoro sessions.
1. Create a distraction-free zone.
2. Plan your tasks. Ideally, pick a deliverable.
3. Put on headphones and play instrumental/focus music.
4. Work on the task using a Pomodoro app.
5. Stick to break schedule religiously. Get away from the room during the break but no internet.

One Pomodoro is better than zero Pomodoro.

During normal decision-making, one can calculate the ROI of their actions: think about how much time you’ll invest and how much return you’ll get back. This calculation needs to be a specific number in terms of both hours and percentage even if it’s an estimate.

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