Managing Your Time with Stoicism

Lately I've been reading Seneca as part of my exploration of Stoicism. There's a lot of great things here and I recommend you check out the video and my notes below:

To live well we must be constant students of life

  • Seneca's essay "On the shortness of life" reminds us that time is a non-renewable resource
  • Treat time as a commodity, people guard their property but squander time
  • The amount of time we get is uncertain, you could die at 20 or 100
  • Death creeps up on time wasters
  • Make the most of time, it is an amplifier when used properly

Don't invest your time preparing for life

  • Seneca pushes us to live right now and not to delay happiness
  • Your typical life is work till 60 and then wait to be happy
  • What usually happens is your old to enjoy life then and regret not making most of life
  • Planning the big things in life but don't delay living it

Live life for your own self

  • Being busy with things we don't like is the greatest distraction of your life
  • We waste time at jobs we don't like, relationships we're not happy in, etc
  • Invest your time into making a life worth living

Practice Premeditatio Malorum

  • While you waste your time by procrastinating, life goes on
  • Researchers call the dissonance of "short-term gratification vs long-term commitments" as time inconsistency
  • To fight this, use Premeditatio Malorum which is a form of negative visualization
  • Think of what could go wrong with your long term task and then make plans to achieve it. This will offset the distractions

Make Long Term Rewards Immediate

  • The need to procrastinate it he most powerful RIGHT at the start of work
  • When rewards are years away (i.e. diploma, career, et), you tend to procrastinate
  • To overcome, you must bundle a reward at the start of the task
  • You can eat a piece of cheesecake when you lost 10lbs or give yourself time to browse the web once you finished those pesky spreadsheet task

Make the Most of your Free Time

  • Too often we waste our free time with stupid stuff. Gossiping, drinking at the bar, etc
  • There's plenty of time to do everything we want if we just stop wasting our free time
  • We work hard to earn money and free time, so why waste that precious free time
  • Use your lunch hour to explore the city, write in a journal, play an instrument, reading, etc
  • To beat mediocrity and start living your life, make the most of your free time

Spend time reflecting on your past

  • Present time is transitory (it's moving), Future is uncertain, the past is unalterable
  • Seneca says pay attention to the past, so you can be effective today
  • Personal note: Journaling is a wonderful way of capturing the past

Stop Wasting Time in Life's Trivialities

  • We are all guilty wasting our time in trivialities (Social Media)
  • Social Media sucks your time away
  • When your happy you fill your time with activities that are valuable and meaningful to the vision you want of your life

Invest your time creating new memories

  • While you preoccupy your time with trivialities, death approaches that you can't escape
  • Invest your time into creating new memories and philosophies
  • Memory is more enduring than grief (Ed. Very true. I call it Adventuring)
  • Memories may be fleeting but they deliver more happiness than anything else
  • Do yourself a favor and take on challenges and adventures, learn to play music, travel, etc

Invest your time in Philosophies

  • The Study of Philosophy is the most invaluable teacher
  • Study as much of philosophy (current, past, etc) as you can because it will help you in your life
  • Your life will expand and your wisdom will grow
  • A Philosopher is a lover of wisdom: truth, virtue, life and death
Show Comments