Do the Opposite #67

Be Frugal With Your Time, Why We Know But Don't Do, Own the Day, Planet 9, Shoespiracy

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Be Frugal with Your Time

Frugality is a topic we often discuss here at Do the Opposite. Indeed, living below your means, saving money and investing it is a recipe to less stress, less debt, less dependency on a particular job, more long term security & better preparedness to anything life might throw at you.

Let’s take the frugality we’ve developed and apply it to another resource that is even scarcer than money: time. You can always make more money per day than you do now. You can’t have more time. Even worse: the number of days is also limited!

Do you pay as much attention to how you spend your time as you do to how you spend money? Do you allow anyone to “take” your time? Are you careless with your time?

Think of time as your currency. Every day you get 24 time coins. How are you spending it? What are the biggest offenders when it comes to us “over-spending” time?

Social Networks. Use your smartphone statistics to find out how much time you spend in various apps per day. You will be surprised. On average, at least one hour can be saved per day by limiting the time you allow for social networks. Batching posting/responding to messages to a 15-30 min window can do the trick.

Video Content. Netflix, YouTube, TV shows and the like. It’s a great way to shake off some stress, but usually we don’t stop at one episode. I’m definitely guilty of this. We don’t watch episodes anymore, we watch whole seasons. There’s more content out there, heck, there’s more great quality content out there, than what we can fit in our lives. The problem here is we’re not living our lives, we’re passively watching others living theirs. OK, we watch actors pretending to live theirs on the screen.

News/Entertainment Sites. When we are bored or stressed we turn to these. It feels a bit better as stress subsides, but after 10 minutes or so the benefit wears off, and we “wake up” a couple of hours later and tomorrow we don’t remember what we looked at today.

Other People. If you are one of the people who find it difficult to say no to others, you are at high risk of being robbed of your time. One common pattern is worth mentioning here. Pay attention and you will see that some people take advantage of your suggesting to help and guide them. They like going through the motions, talking about the same problems every week or month, in a cycle. They drain your time, as you give them advice, which they never intended to take in the first place. Then the cycle repeats itself.

What’s the solution to all of this? Quit all of it and go live in the forest like Walden?

Not necessarily. I suggest we place limits on these activities. That way we still get to do them and have a way to release some stress but we don’t let these activities to morph into monstrous time thieves.

You can limit video content to an episode a day. Social networks and entertainment content can be limited to a specific number of minutes per day, for example 20. Enforce this by setting a timer when you engage in these activities. If you notice that a person you know is freely taking your time like it’s theirs and gets upset/mad at you when you can’t give them that time, drop them from your life.

Every so often, sit down and analyze the way you spend your time. Each tiny improvement you make saves your time for something better: your conscious choices versus unconscious drifting. Spend that time with family, work on your projects, start your side hustle, find a hobby that brings you joy and teaches you a new skill.

”Who has time? Who has time? But then if we do not ever take time, how can we ever have time?”
— The Merovingian, “The Matrix Reloaded”


“How Two Companies Hooked Customers on Rarely Used Products” by Nir Eyal

You, as a reader of Do the Opposite, know that habits are extremely powerful. The right set of habits can propel you to the stratosphere, whereas a set of bad habits will ruin your life over time. Some activities are easily codified into habits, they are usually something you can do often and can be consistent in. Companies love these. From getting you to drink coffee in the morning to getting you to brush your teeth at night, these companies’ profits are directly related to whether they can make you adopt a habit associated with their products and services.

What to do then, when your company does something that cannot be made into a habit, like buying/selling a house? Then you have to get creative and build these habits around your product, indirectly. Read this article for 2 fascinating examples of businesses doing just that.

“The Do Plan, or Why We Know But Don’t Do” by Leo Babauta

Most of us know what we need to do to achieve our goals and realize our dreams: what to do to get fit, to pay off debt, to master a new skill. The problem is that even though we know, we simply don’t do. What’s stopping us? Leo claims it’s fear. So how do we bridge the gap between knowing and doing, and start making forward progress? Leo has got our backs on that too.

“The Biggest Wastes Of Time We Regret When We Get Older” by Kristin Wong

I always try to look at my life from the point of view of future me: me 20 years from now, 30, 40, etc. I believe thinking in this way will help me set my priorities right, as well as minimize the chance of not fulfilling my potential and experiencing intense regret in the old age. This article is one such mental exercise. Let’s learn from others so that we don’t step on the same rake.


One of the Best Talks Ever on Self-Motivation | Mel Robbins

A lot of us battle with procrastination. This video build up on the topic Leo Babauta covers in the article above. How do we get from knowing that we should do something (that’s good for us in the long term) to actually doing it? Turns out, there is a simple strategy we can use! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Go:

Own the Day | Aubrey Marcus SXSW Keynote Speech

We all do relatively same things every day: wake up, exercise, take a shower, eat breakfast, work, etc. If we want to be at our best we don’t need to make drastic changes to these, we just need to find the optimal way to perform them. There is a lot that Aubrey unpacks in this video that can be easily applied to our every day lives.

Shoespiracy (Extended Cut) | VIVOBAREFOOT

The book “Born to Run” has converted thousands of people into runners. It also started the barefoot running craze, which has a lot of scientific basis. Watch this short film explaining why our feet don’t need the extra cushion provided by most running shoes and sneakers and why we should let our feet do the cushioning (more like elastic bouncing) for us. Bonus: you’ll see the author of “Born to Run”, Christopher McDougall, in this film ;)

Planet Nine from Outer Space - Konstantin Batygin | Caltech

Pretty surreal and illuminating talk by Konstantin, who works as an Assistant Professor of Planetary Science at Caltech and studies the Solar system. Ever since Pluto lost the status of a planet, our Solar system has only 8 planets. Now, after lots of research, astronomers believe that there is a real possibility of a 9th planet, which has a much wider orbit than all the others (it takes about 20,000 years for it to complete the full loop around the Sun). If you are into astronomy like I am, you will love this video! As usual, I recommend watching at 1.5x-2x speed to save time :)

Tweet of the Week



“Constantly seek criticism. A well thought out critique of whatever you’re doing is as valuable as gold.”
― Elon Musk

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brené Brown

“The only purpose of starting is to finish, and while the projects we do are never really finished, they must ship. Shipping means hitting the publish button on your blog, showing a presentation to the sales team, answering the phone, selling the muffins, sending out your references. Shipping is the collision between your work and the outside world.”
― Seth Godin

“What is remembered says a great deal about those doing the remembering.”
— Timothy Zahn, “Thrawn”


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Keep doing the opposite,
Alex Kallaway