A Nap vs Half Working
My goal in measuring how I spend my time isn’t to become a superhuman model of efficiency.

A Nap Trumps Half-Working

Last week, I gave myself a public beating over my recent discovery of how I actually use my time. One thoughtful reader sent me an email telling me not to be so hard on myself and suggested that if I try to maximize every second of my life, I would certainly wring the fun out of it.

While this was kind, it made me realize I had failed to make one really important point about the way we spend our time.

My goal in measuring how I spend my time isn’t to become a superhuman model of efficiency. I’m just trying to see if there are small changes I could make to align more fully how I spend my time with what I say is important to me and also avoid what my wife calls half-working.

So if I look at time as an investment, there are some obvious ways I can improve the return on my quality of life.

Let me give you some examples.

  1. Instead of spending 27 minutes reading about sports I don’t care about, I could take a nap. A nap is better than half-working.
  2. Instead of spending 36 minutes seeing what President Trump did today, I could go on a walk with my wife. A walk with my wife is better than half-working.
  3. Instead of spending 54 minutes scrolling through social media feeds, I could help my daughter with her homework. Time with my daughter is better than half-working.

To be clear, this effort is not about watching ESPN being a bad use of time. Instead, it’s about a nap being an awesome use of time. Some people might argue that living such an examined life is no fun. I argue that if fun is what you’re after, finding time for it is a good investment.

This column appeared originally in the New York Times on July 10, 2017.

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