The Alchemist Dev

Explorations & Rants

  1. Think of a cake.
  2. Divide that cake into thirds.
  3. Send the first third to oblivion.
  4. Toss a coin and give the second third away.
    • Heads: to someone you like.
    • Tails: to someone you don't like.
  5. Do whatever you want with the remaining third.

In case this exercise isn't clear, the cake is a day in your life. The first portion goes to oblivion because you have to sleep. In your slumber you do not experience this reality. Some people need fewer hours than others but everyone has to pay the slice.

The second section is your job. If you're lucky enough to enjoy what you do for a living and if you have a boss; then there's a 50/50 shot that you actually like the person who gets to tell you what to do with your existence. Sure, you can get that promotion and become the boss or move to another department; but as long as you are trading your time to an employer, (this includes salaried employees) your meat machine does not belong to you.

Think about it for a moment. Excluding remote workers, your commute to the office is a work related activity. The time you spend getting ready for it and the morning countdown to when you have to begin to get ready is also an unpaid activity. So expand both ends of this slice to account for that and the decompression time after.

Just so that I'm not misunderstood, I am not anti-work. I'm against working on and thinking about working on systems that do not benefit myself and the people in my Dunbar Circle. I won't expound upon that here. There are plenty of places to find diatribes on evil corporations and manipulative management styles.

The final slice is your lifestyle. It's divided up by the fixtures that require maintenance. For the sake of argument lets take 2 to 3 hours to account for the setup, process, and teardown of the total time required for hygienic upkeep and sustenance. Next, what does your living situation look like? Do you micro clean as you go or do you operate on an untidiness threshold. The maintenance time is the same for both scenarios. This is not looking good. Optimistically we're looking at around 5 hours left for "real-life".

So we've defined our constants but what about our variables. They too demand a slice. If you have a dog, that dog must to be walked. If you're in a romantic relationship, that fire must be stoked. Students and Teachers have homework. Artists have to practice. And if you have children, the rest of the cake goes to them (as it should).

What about the weekend? At the time of this post I'm reading an MJ Demarco book where he makes a good analogy about trading 7 dollars for 2. I'd continue that train of thought to say that 1.5 or even 1.25 is more accurate. Remember the cake system requires that we include the time spent thinking about work as unpaid work time. So the weekend is over as soon as you begin thinking about Monday's work during Sunday's evening.

//end rant//

Thanks for the slice.