The New York Times
The New York Times 25 Feb 2020

How to Optimize Your Life

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In the above video, we'll show you how to optimize*. . .or make yourself crazy trying.

After all, you've only got — on average — 78.53 years on this planet, total. And you're likely already spending a precious 5 hours each day on email, not to mention the time spent waiting in line or stuck in transit.

But what if there were ways to make more time out of time?

Luckily, there are. Like the hundreds of meal prep options to save you the time it takes to choose vegetables. And the ability to listen to thousands of podcasts at triple speed. Even your phone can double as a light switch. Or a therapist.

William Penn once said, "time is what we want most, but use worst."

But Penn knew nothing about optimizing.

*Happiness not guaranteed.


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… show captions ↓
We waste a lot of time.
Life is like a messy jigsaw puzzle with too much room
between the cracks.
These are the moments you're actually getting things done.
And this?
This is wasted time.
Which, for the average person, amounts
to 21.8 hours every week.
That's equal to a part time job
or running five whole marathons.
The good news is, we now have an array
of goods and services designed to optimize our lives
and squeeze that puzzle into an impermeable, airtight hunk
of productivity.
And all it takes is five pretty simple steps.
Step one, minimize friction, maximize hustle.
Imagine you wake up in the morning.
Maybe in real life, you look like this, or this, or this.
But right now, you're just going to look like this guy.
You're 5' 10", average build, with a strong preference
for citrus, and an estimated lifespan of 82.
Optimizing is going to allow you
to milk as much time out of those 82 years
as humanly possible.
So pack your gym bag the night before.
That way, you can grab it on your way out the door
without having to think twice or second
guess your athletic goals.
Read your daily news briefing on the way to the gym,
and try to complete a seven minute high intensity workout
session, which can improve your oxygen
consumption by up to 9%, allowing
you to be more productive the rest of the day.
Optimization is about thinking one step ahead.
If you order your coffee while you're still at the gym,
you can pick it up on your way to work practically
without having to stop.
Seamless.
Now you work for a while.
In 1930, John Maynard Keynes famously
predicted that, with the advance of technology,
we would only have to work 15 hours a week to get by.
Well, Keynes' prediction was completely backward.
Rather than reducing the hours we work,
we've found a way to increase the work we do every hour.
Eventually, you leave work and walk for a bit
to offset the sitting.
But then you need to eat off at the walking.
Meal subscription services are awesome for this.
So you can have everything you need for dinner chopped
and waiting for you by the time you've unpacked
and repacked your gym bag.
Read a book while you cook, but not the whole book.
There are services now that actually just
give you the short version of the book.
Same info, way less time.
With all these time saving devices,
you're now able to go to bed way ahead of schedule.
And with polyphasic sleeping, you
can stop spending so much damn time unconscious,
and therefore unproductive.
Step two, iterate.
The next morning, you're up five hours
ahead of time and feeling great.
But you know you could be feeling better.
At the gym, check your emails on the bike
while drinking a meal replacement
shake with an added shot of MCT oil
to stabilize the glucose in your bloodstream
and prevent you from getting hungry until dinner or maybe
ever again.
You're saving time and feeling great.
And when you save time and feel great,
you're going to have more time and energy
to plan out how to save more time and feel even better.
You leave work perfectly timed with the ride share you've
prearranged, allowing you to complete a Duolingo Mandarin
course.
[SPEAKING MANDARIN]
You're home wildly ahead of schedule and meal
prepping next week's morning shakes while Alexa reads off
your 23andMe results.
You're hoping to reveal your suspected Viking chieftain
routes, but instead discover your relation
to a lineage of Irish mill workers,
so should therefore be adding flaxseed instead of coconut
oil, which you never would have known about if you
hadn't listened to that bio hacking podcast last night.
In your dreams, you descend into a deep, fiery cave
that looks kind of like your gym,
except inside a volcano, visited
by conjurings of all the people doing more than you.
Oh, look.
It's Elon Musk and Kathy from work, who's already finished
Obama's 2020 reading list.
And Victor something, who you haven't
talked to since high school, but apparently has a tech
startup and a six pack.
Wake up in a cold sweat ready to take your day
to the next level with step three, which
is to skip step three.
Step four, accelerate.
Fast forward a month.
You have optimized your life so efficiently
that you're now able to live five
whole days in the time it takes
most people to live just one.
With a quick calculation, you realize that your previously
predicted 82 year lifespan, combined
with your current rate of productivity,
minus the 34 years you lived before you learned how
to optimize actually comes out to a whopping 240
productive years of life for you.
And the new pressure cooker you just
got that's programmable from your phone
will push that to 265.
Hashtag worth it.
Step five, eventually, you die.
You win the international award for most lives
lived in one life.
No one knows quite what it was you did with all that time.
All they know is you sure didn't waste it, right?
[MUSIC PLAYING]

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