The Hidden Cost of Reading
time is a luxury. hoard it like a hedonist. or a ceo.
Time Is Money
You’ve heard that before. But the algorithims of the internet are programmed to make us forget how true it is. People read for three reasons, and chief of these are information gathering and pleasure. Both require our time and more often than not we squander it on words that barely hold our attention. In a world of ubiquitous (and frequently crappy) content, we need to start hoarding our time like the precious commodity it is…
Hoard Time Like a Hedonist
Time is money, and money buys luxury, and therefore we can say that time is actually luxury. No one can argue that relaxing and reading anything you desire ISN’T a luxury. Imagine you have millions and millions of dollars and can spend your time doing whatever you want, just for the sake of pleasure. What would you read?
The truth is that the more time and money people have, the more discerning they become about what they consume. The opposite is also true. The less time and money you have, the more likely you are to spend what little free time you have on things that don’t actually bring you much pleasure. Why? Because that’s exactly how the internet is programmed— to take time from the people who have the least, because they are the most likely to give it.
Don’t fall for it. Be picky. Pretend you have all the time in the world for pleasurable pursuits. Be a hedonist. Choose what you read the way you would choose a favorite food you can scarcely afford. The algorithms are offering you some horrible take out instead. You don’t have to eat it.
Hoard Time Like A CEO
Imagine for a moment that you’re the CEO of a small but profitable company. Your salary translates to roughly $60 an hour. That means ONE MINUTE of your time is valued at one dollar. Someone sends you a twenty minute read. Twenty minutes of your time is $20. That’s more than the best seller sitting on your nightstand that you can’t seem to find time for. And yet, the image and title intrigue you and you’re tempted to click on it…
Go ahead. Do it. But only give it SIX seconds to captivate you. If it can’t captivate you in the first six seconds, it’s not worth your time. If you make it past six seconds, but at some point your attention wanes or your eyes keep rolling in the back of your head, just stop.
Close it. Walk away. Why? Because you don’t get to return it and get your money back if you don’t like it. Be brutal, be harsh, be a decisive CEO because no matter what your job is or how much money you make, your time is valuable. Not sure if that’s true? Here’s an eye opener —
the ENTIRE internet is knocking on your door and begging you to click, read, consume. You alone get to choose what is worthy of your time.
Final Words — On Reading for Kindness
Reading for kindness is the third type of reading. It isn’t new, but it IS newly prevelant. Your friend, fan, Aunt Fran, whoever, wants you to read something they wrote. You’re wholly uninterested in the subject matter but you’ve agreed, as a kindness, to do so. If you are decent human being, that obligates you to read it in its entirety.
What it doesn't obligate you to do, is lie.
If it sucks, if it doesn't hold your attention, if it’s poorly written or cliche and you let them publish it anyway, you’re doing them a disservice. Tell the truth, but gently. Tell them how they might improve it. Friends don’t let friends create crappy, time sucking content.