Being a software engineer, my entire job is about managing complexity. Whether it’s tying disparate systems together, organizing code, or building out a thoughtful user experience, an engineer’s end goal is to simplify complex systems.
I’ve been applying these concepts to my personal life to varying degrees of success. Minimizing time spent on menial tasks ultimately means I have more time for people and hobbies that I really care about.
Chores and Hobbies
I’ve been minimizing time on chores I don’t care much about like laundry and grocery shopping, whether though buying more clothes (probably not the best idea) or paying to have my groceries delivered.
Meanwhile, I get to spend more time on things that I care about, like reading books, writing a bit (e.g. this), and learning to cook. The time I spend outside of my apartment is primarily going to work or meeting up with friends. I’m some version of a shut-in.
I don’t think I’m an extreme case, but I do get the sense that more people are undertaking this lifestyle. Whether you order off Amazon or any other on-demandish service, chances are you don’t need to run out to the local hardware store/grocery store/misc store very often.
And why should you? Unless you derive some sort of happiness from going (then by all means go for it), it seems like a waste of time to be running errands all the time.
I’ve also been maximizing my downtime. I’ve been reading on my commute (a subway ride) and generally just organizing my thoughts, tasks, and goals through Wunderlist (1.) and Todoist (2.)
The Hardest Optimization Problem
My career is where I really want to make sure I’m climbing the right hill. But it’s also important that my life is on the right track. By off-loading menial tasks that otherwise just suck up time, I’m getting more time back to spend on things that matter the most.
- I use Wunderlist to keep track of any ideas that pop into my head. The lists and folders make grouping items together really easy. Also clicking that checkmark once a task is complete is so satisfying. ↩︎
- Todoist is great for tracking daily tasks. Its drag and drop interface makes moving tasks around really easy. ↩︎