about 7 years on 2010-02-21


i am not sure what my time is worth per hour (aka what someone else would pay for it), but i am relatively certain that i behave/live life based on overly optimistic assumptions, especially with regards to any task i do repeatedly and can possibly abstract.

i don't really believe in giving personal advice, but i do think that over-valuing my time serves as a really good basic framework from which to work, or at least from which to tinker... it might be a good framework for others as well.

to give one example of what i mean by this, let's take csvemail.com -- i keep quite detailed records on everyone i communicate with, and email is by far my number one pipe. for a while, i would essentially scrape the metadata i needed out of email manually - i would leave a spreadsheet open on one screen, and dump new contacts and notes in throughout the day....

but, once i got the work flow down, i immediately started automating the collection and some of the key statistics... now, csvemail.com (which you can use as you want) automates the entire process of scraping all my email for new contacts, and keeping detailed records of key statistics about people and message behavior that i want.

i swapped out a repeated task for an automated one at the cost of a few hours on a weekend, and a few dollars (thanks for the help bill).

i see this as a clear over-valuing of my time. csvemail, even just as a barely full fledged tool is a massive overbuild considering the few min a day i was spending doing the same things manually,... heck, even the $32 a month bill to keep the service alive going forward is probably overly expensive given the manual alternative --

however, i think that solving the mental puzzle of how to offload activities that are repeatable forces me to really analyze how i am spending my time and directly confront what i am doing... it is extra analysis, but i *think* that the exercise of the 'abstract everything' approach actually yields a net return.

... if you think the above is all nuts, at least consider that unless you buy certain versions of the singularity, time really is the most scarce resource... so if you are going to choose one element to over value, it might as well be time.

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010