RE: Time=Life

David Musick (
Mon, 16 Dec 96 08:43:03 UT

Michael Bowling asked, "What I ask of you hyper-productive transhumans out
there is for some insight as to how other people maximize their activity/time

There are several approaches I have found helpful in accomplishing *A LOT* in
a short amount of time.

The first is learning how to switch from one thing to another almost
instantly. This is very useful when multi-tasking, doing several things
simultaneously, switching between them fluidly and advancing each task a
little further and then switching to another one (I had to do a lot of this
when I worked at Kinko's. Whenever I had to wait more than a couple seconds
for a machine to finish part of one task, I would advance another task and
then switch back to the other ones I was working on and advance them a little
further, and so on). Many of the tasks that I do are purely mental, and I am
often switching between threads of thought, picking up right where I left off
and advancing that thread a little further and then leaving it when another
one seems more interesting. I probably have thousands of threads of thought
open currently, and as I keep jumping around, I am advancing them all,
somewhat simultaneously.

The next thing that I have found helpful is to keep my priorities clear, in my
awareness. I have so many thousands of goals, and I can't do them all right
now, so I have trained myself (and am continuing to train myself) to remain
aware of how much I value each goal in comparison to other ones, considering
my immediate situation, and to consistently do that which I value the most
during the current moment. My values for goals is continually shifting, but I
am making it a habit to always do what I feel most like doing during any
moment, and this seems to lead to the fulfillment of my most desired goals
over time. My training is basically to be more sensitive to what I feel most
like doing and to evaluate that course of action rationally and see if I still
feel like doing it, and if I do feel most like doing something, then I will do
it. I think that my feeling of what I most want to do is a result of some
sort of complex, mostly unconscious, evaluation process, where my various
goals are weighted against each other and the one which has the highest weight
is the one I most feel like doing.

Another thing I have found helpful in accomplishing much in a short period of
time (it's related to switching from thing to thing easily) is learning to
have my thread of thinking digress as much as possible while still following
the main thought through. Every thought has a lot of associations, links to
other thoughts, and as I'm following a thread of thinking, I like to briefly
look at all the associated thoughts, generally only following them for one or
two links and if anything looks interesting, I add it to my stack of thoughts
to follow up on later. Then I jump back to the main thread of thoughts that
I'm wanting to follow (that's the hard part -- keeping track of the main
thread to follow). Doing this helps me come up with lots of creative thoughts
all the time, while still completing whatever task I'm working on. With
practice, this ability becomes automatic, and in the course of my daily
activities I come up with all kinds of creative ideas and breakthroughs while
remaining sufficiently focused to efficiently complete my tasks efficiently.
Most of my tasks don't require my full attention, and I train myself to use
whatever extra attention I have to work on the many mental tasks I've always
got running in my mind. For example, if I'm walking across the room to get
something, I can do that pretty automatically, and during the few seconds it
takes to get to where I'm going, I can advance several math problems I'm
working on or study the wood grain of the floor, or work on sharpening my
visual acuity by trying to see more detail in the room, or I can work on
moving more gracefully and consciously, or I can briefly consider what I want
to cook for lunch, or many other things.

Simply learning to complete tasks efficiently helps me to accomplish more in a
given amount of time. This requires being able to think a few steps ahead in
the task that I am engaged in, so that I can prepare myself to complete all
those steps fluidly and quickly, doing each step immediately after the
previous one, with no pause between them. It basically involves maintaining a
mental plan of one's course of action, clear enough that it can be followed
without hesitation. I am far from being as efficient as I would like to be in
most areas, but I am working on it, and it constantly amazes me how quickly I
am able to do things when I cut out all the wasted time in between steps.

I hope my ideas are helpful to you in getting more out of your time. I know
they help me considerably.

- David Musick

-- You can never be *given* freedom; to have it, you must *take* it, by
consistently doing what you most want to do. --