The Other 8 Hours

2016-11-08 Tue

The Other 8 Hours by Robert Pagliarini

I stopped less than halfway through this book. I liked the core message, but found the details lacking.

My summary: Assuming one sleeps eight hours and works another eight, then eight hours remain for "the rest of life". This time is our most valuable resource for accomplishing our life goals.

This book often expresses these goals in terms of "make more money", which didn't resonate with me. But it's a fine common denominator.

I love the idea that I could get more out of my life with mindful time management—I'm not great at this. And I appreciate the book's specific strategic & tactical suggestions. But I didn't feel motivated by most of what I read.

Much of the book is a series tips for using one's "off" hours more effectively. Some are interesting, many aren't. (I read one book review that said it would have fared better as a series of blog posts. I agree.)

One key tip worth highlighting: The author strongly advises against "quitting your day job", and I appreciate that. He suggests using your "other eight hours" as a way to grow your passion and potentially ease into day-job-quitting, with a safety net. Good advice.

Some unordered thoughts about the portion I read

Each chapter starts with a brief illustrative story--sometimes cute, usually grating. I liked the one about the prison inmate and the guard--seen from the point of view of "disposable" time, the inmate is far richer than his guard. But some seem counter-productive--the only moral I can find in the foot-race story is "hard work cannot mitigate an early mistake", which contradicts anti-perfectionism messages elsewhere in the book.

The author often uses deliberately "randy" prose. ("Don't be a time slut", etc.) Possibly endearing to some, but I found it distracting.

"Life starts at 5:00 [pm]" - I'm not quite ready to concede the entire morning :)

"Defend your time" - good advice, but I think it could be spun a little differently. Some of his examples seem to suggest using intentional deception. Basically, "be a dick".

I like the idea of adopting a pay-as-you-go policy with one's time. Before accepting a new commitment, first decide which activity will receive less of your time. (I hadn't heard the term "PAYGO" before.)

Hiring somebody to do personal administrative tasks might sound fancy, even extravagant, but it might make sense. After all, it's common for people to hire out for lawn care and snow removal. Why not extend the idea to other areas of life? (Of course, this only makes sense if the saved time is spent doing something more valuable, or earning at least as much as the hired help costs.)

"Boosting": Find a deliberately undemanding (second) job, and use that time to work toward goals (study, etc.). "Find a boring job and be a bad employee." I definitely did this late in my college career, and I can understand the attraction, but can't imagine doing this today. (The author's suggestion felt underhanded to me, but he did eventually recommend complete honesty with your employer about what you're doing & why.)

The author distinguishes between "bartering" and "frictionless reciprocation". I can't appreciate the difference between them.

So many made-up terms. (boost: "be negligent at a boring job"; spark: "make a good habit by associating a desired behavior with a trigger"; cre8tor: "a member of the target demo for this book, see also 'cre8or'", ...)

The author suggests cutting down on news-consumption time by ignoring local news and focusing on national--I might prefer the opposite?

I strongly agree with one point: If you think of your "life" as being made of 8-hour days, then mindlessly passing hours on joyless activities is a tragic waste. (Even so, I'm not ready to dismiss the other 16 hours entirely.)

"Reading for pleasure is not a waste of time. Reading because you feel compelled to or without a purpose, is a total waste of time." I very much agree with the "without a purpose" part, but how is reading for pleasure different than watching TV for pleasure? (Perhaps doing anything for pleasure is equally worthwhile, and doing anything mindlessly is equally wasteful. I also suspect that reading is often treated preferentially simply because it's been around longer.)

"If you settle for a paycheck, you'll only be worth what your employer pays you. But if you create something valuable, there's virtually no limit to your worth." An interesting, money-centric point.

Misc bits