Roy Tang

Programmer, engineer, scientist, critic, gamer, dreamer, and kid-at-heart.

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I remember having a discussion with a friend a few years back where I made the following list to emphasize a point:

  • 8-9 hours at work (possibly more)
  • 7-8¬†hours of sleep
  • 3-4 hours commuting in Metro Manila
  • 2 hours for meals

That leaves you between 1-4¬†hours for all forms of recreation including exercise, sports, TV,¬†derping around on the internet, hanging out with friends, and so on. On any given day if you needed to work overtime or run errands, you’re probably saying goodbye to any recreation time on that day.¬†And if you have kids to take care of, that’s basically all days

These days I’ve found that even if you’re not working most days, it’s easy enough to feel like there’s not enough time for all the things you want to do.¬†Or maybe that’s just me because there’s a whole lot of things I want to be able to do. I want to be able to learn, read, write, watch, draw, create, play, work on my side projects, argue with people on the internet, and so on. I don’t understand people who say they have too much free time and they get bored, I feel like those people just don’t have enough things they want to do.¬†The difference between work and leisure is that when you’re ¬†at work, you look for enough tasks to fill your required hours, while for leisure you like for enough hours to do the things you want to do

Ever since I started working¬†I always¬†had this idea that it was a ridiculous notion that we had to give up so much of our time to work so that in theory we could be comfortable in some foggy unknown¬†future. You shouldn’t sacrifice today to enjoy tomorrow, what’s the point? Your hour today is the same amount of time as your hour tomorrow. I get that sometimes you have to sacrifice some time today for some sort of multiplicative effect it may theoretically have on the future (i.e. doing something today for 1 hour may earn you multiple hours in the future), but you shouldn’t sacrifice so much that you are no longer able to enjoy and appreciate the present (if you have that luxury of course)

We get the same amount of time (24 hours) every day as everyone else though. That’s the same amount of time as Einstein or Bill Gates or Barack Obama or whatever other random successful person you want to cite. It’s the ultimate equalizer. Other people accomplish so much with the same amount of time, so why can’t we?

Supposedly it’s all about setting your priorities and focusing on what’s important. Unfortunately focus has always been a problem of mine since I like to dabble in a wide variety of things. I look at the list of things I want to do and I tell myself I have to decide to sacrifice some of these so¬†that the others can get done. Focus only on what matters. What if everything matters?

People will say you should cut back on TV or playing video games if you want to get stuff done, that these things are a waste of time. But as John Lennon said “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time”. If doing these things is what you want to do, you should go for it, just be aware of what you’re sacrificing in exchange

I believe that some time within this century attitudes of people towards work and time will begin to change. That the idea of working 40-50 hour days being a normal thing will start to fade away. (Or maybe I am being too optimistic). Until that time comes, we all need to consciously manage our time and priorities in order to cope

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roytang.net is a personal site; I post about a random assortment of topics that interest me including software development, Magic the Gathering, pop culture, gaming, and tech life. This site is perpetually under renovation.