1130-0000 - prepare for bed, relax
0000-0600 - sleep (roughly)
0600-0700 - stuff (shower, shave, personal email)
0700-1630 - work + lunch + commutes
 In the sense that I had things I wanted to do but they never got completed due to poor prioritization.
I must admit I am always a bit jealous of people like you who can function on 6 hours sleep every day. After 3 days of that I am wreck.
My wife hardly ever sleeps more that 6-6.5 hours so she basically gets 2 extra hours a day compared to me. This has been true for me as long as I can remember (36 year old male)
Now I can get by comfortably with 6-7 hours of sleep.
Apps can also wake you up at the right time, as opposed to during deep sleep. That makes it easier to wake up as well.
I use an app that plays various rain sounds. I have it linked to speakers via Bluetooth (and I have a 3.5mm headphone-jack-type extension audio cable that I've run to my bedside table as an option, if I'm feeling picky about the sound quality of my rain ).
It's very relaxing, and blocks most outdoor sounds. I live in NZ, and the houses here are usually pretty thin-walled and consequently offer almost no sound deadening. This mostly-fixes/avoids that.
Perhaps you don't like rain, and so different sounds might be appropriate... I don't like anything else really apart from maybe low volume white noise, but that's me... but yeah, regardless of which sounds you pick, the general approach is worth trying!
I do tend to sleep in on the weekends though ("sleep" isn't quite right, more like lazily stay in bed until 0900 or so while drifting in and out).
Though I initially saw an increase in my time sleeping (to about 7 hours) when I started (and now, since I took a break out of laziness). After about 3-4 weeks, my body gets better conditioned to the level of effort and I go back to about 6 hours of sleep a night.
For context, my exercising is: 2x5k/week (~0.5 hour each), 2x1.5 hour BJJ class, 2x1 hour wrestling, 2x1 hour BJJ, 2x1.25 hour soccer games. So roughly 10.5 hours a week. Very physically exhausting to jump back into that full schedule, though I find the fatigue remarkably satisfying (knowing that it's been earned).
Then I started college and it went up to 8, for some reason.
Recently I stopped drinking. I'm back to 6.
I used to have really bad habits with respect to keeping my apartment clean. Not dirty, but just generally messy (bathrooms were terrible though, I'll admit). And it was because of the time it would take to do it. Acknowledging my true time budget I now keep a nice, though not spotless, apartment because I take 15 minutes each day to straighten something up. Some areas need a Saturday morning to tackle. But the bathroom is cleaned once a week. The floors get cleaned throughout the month in segments.
If you've ever spent time on money management with tools like YNAB or Mint, it's very similar. You realize where your time is going, and what time is left available. You mete it out in reasonable amounts to the tasks that need to be done. When I'd only clean my apartment once a month (at best) it was a major undertaking. It was intimidating and I'd skip months because of that. Amortize the time cost across the month, it's now "easy", and my apartment takes 20 minutes to get ready for company in the worst case of short notice from friends.
I see statements like this on HN a lot, particularly from developers (myself included), but most of them cringe at the thought of having 2-4 hours of administrative work every day.
I do this all the time. Of course, the person new to it is usually myself.
This correlates with my anecdotal observation that the smartest people can write bad code, and it takes them quite a while to absorb the stuff of writing good code.. a couple years at minumum perhaps. Its not just about raw thinking power - perhaps the important bits are, but not all of it.
But it's also possible that you're just relaxing because you can or what not, dunno.
To me the far more interesting question is, why do we feel so busy? I've made the observation to my family on numerous occasions that the most stressful and exhausting work days for me are the least productive, those days when I'm just sitting at the computer staring at the screen for 8 hours. After a day like that, at 5 o'clock I'm literally brain dead; nothing left. When I have some productive goal I'm working towards, my work has the opposite effect; I close my computer feeling energized & ready for whatever's next.
You have a bunch of tasks to finish this week at work. You get them all done, and properly accounted you realize they only took 30 of your 40 work hours. But you feel like you've spent much more time on it. You have, you've been thinking about it. Thinking about what to do next while you're going for your coffee break makes it not a break (mentally). This is why GTD suggests you get things out of your head. Once your tasks are captured, then you can focus on the doing and not the planning to do. You can also see the true scope instead of the anxiety magnified scope ("oh god, this'll take me ages", stress, stress, get to the time, it takes 10 minutes).
I would guess that knowing you have work to do, rather than actually doing the work, is what makes us feel busy. If I have 30 things to do today, I feel busy the moment I wake up, even if my morning routine is no different than usual. If I procrastinate for 2 hours and then spend 6 hours doing 20 of those things--pushing the last 10 to tomorrow--I still feel like I've had a crazy day even though I've done less than the amount of work in a typical work day. Then I spend all evening feel restless because I really should have finished up those last 10 things, so then my whole evening feels like work.
I don't think this is entirely an illusion. Thinking about work takes mental energy; often, it takes more energy than actually doing the work. This isn't just because of stress; it's because planning (even if that planning is ultimately pointless) is an active mode of thinking.
Perhaps the solution to feeling busy all the time is to refuse to think about work you haven't started yet (unless that work is specifically a thinking task, e.g. most coding). Easier said than done, of course. Personally, I know that constantly thinking about work to be done is what keeps me from forgetting about important things I need to do. My solution to the issue was to refuse to think about doing the work, instead only reminding myself that I had to do it. This "solution" actually caused me anxiety, because thinking through work made me feel like I had it under control. Not thinking through it made me feel like I was letting it slip away, which was actually a good thing, because entirely by accident it solved my procrastination problems. It turns out that "thinking through work" was enabling my procrastination by making me feel like I was being responsible when I was making no tangible progress. The anxiety of not thinking forced me to actually do the work, and for two weeks I was basically a workaholic while I caught up on all of the things I'd been procrastinating on. But, after those two weeks were over, something magical happened: I felt less anxiety than ever before, I felt like I had tons of free time, and I had far fewer things to keep track of. I didn't feel busy, but I also had no desire to become busy, because I knew I was still doing as much work as ever, if not more. The difference was entirely based on my thoughts outside of the time spent working.
To reduce the amount of time you think about work, capture it in a planner or app. Just record what needs to be done. Start prioritizing it. Turn this into a routine and over time a great deal of the mental burden is reduced. Initially it's quite stressful as you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of captured tasks. But once you start prioritizing and scheduling them, especially the repeated onse that only have to be captured and planned once, things smooth out quite a bit.
For example, all the goods and services we need that are provided by a confusopoly (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confusopoly) of providers - phone plans, health insurance ("open enrollment" season), cable internet access, insurance, investments, real estate.
These are all areas of life that we must engage with, but are also huge time sinks - one can research for hours, days, or years, and not get anywhere further than a feeling of frustration and having been "busy", and we can't solve these things with any finality - next year, it's the same stuff all over again.
Mentally, this is so much worse than actual, proper work, where we can sit down, do it for a few hours, and at the end of it have something that is done, will stay done, and never need redoing.
Or, possibly worse than having no work, having small amounts of annoying work, but nothing else. The worse is when all I have to do all day is this one annoying bug I havn't been able to figure out. It should take 2 hours to solve but it ends up taking three days.
I'm most energized when I start a new project and I have lots of stuff to build.
Believe it or not, I have the opposite perspective. I'd rather spend a whole week debugging something in a gnarly legacy system than architect/build one from scratch. I like being able to say, "it wasn't working before; now it works," and then get on with my life, rather than live with the consequences of a hundred wrong turns. Different strokes, I guess!
I don't know, and would like to know so I could work on it.
Positive/negative reinforcement? You enjoy being productive, and generally don't enjoy anxiety/stress (after a threshold). I'm not certain there's much a differentiation between undesirable stress and the sensation of being "too busy." My N=1 says they're identical and I've noticed it myself, that when I want to express how I feel about being too stressed, my mind tends towards the same vocabulary I used when I am too busy, regardless of how time consuming the stress is.
I feel so busy because my work day is essentially 12 hours. Even at that, I know people who legitimately work more than 50 hours a week, every week. This is not sustainable. One great solution would be to start making companies pay overtime. Would create tons of jobs and a healthier society.
Let's take it a step further and make 35 hours full time. Time and a half after that.
Do note: the perverse case scenario for this is working at Foxconn
If at the back of your head you are processing what failure may mean, worrying about who will be upset, worrying about politics, etc. then emotional and cognitive load and stress in particular drains you out.
Poor and working class people have truly busy lives compared to professionals. We should all remember that.
I think the solution is pretty simple: raise that income maximum well past where you would normally put it and make it trivial (like sign up on the internet trivial) for anyone who qualifies to receive assistance and make it just as simple to stop receiving it. Someone should be able to sign up and receive assistance on the next distribution cycle. This makes it easy for people in that dangerous spot to get assistance because you remove it and those with pride can get it quickly, easily and as temporarily as they want with no humiliation.
Here's why: Today you must commit a lot of time and effort as well suffer humiliation to get assistance. You have to stand in line, wait in a waiting area, fill out forms and finally talk to a worker about what a fuck up you are. If you have kids and can't get/afford a babysitter your kids are right there with you losing their minds. If you can't take time off work you don't get assistance because this government office is closed in the evening and on weekends. It may be hard to imagine something worse than the DMV but that's exactly what this is. And then you have to deal with doing it all over again because they are looking for the tiniest possible reason to turn off your assistance and force you to appeal.
Why is it so painful? Because welfare queens, drug dealers, drug users, lifers and frauds can't be allowed to get assistance even if the cost in terms of dollars and opportunity are much greater to prevent them from doing so. We've let it become about who we deem "deserves" it rather than a simple monetary calculation.
The working poor are a revenue source. By keeping people indebted, they remain predictable consumers and fixed-income assets, like a human bond.
The impoverished are effectively trapped by the welfare system itself, because it reduces benefits as incomes rise at a faster rate than can be made up by the equivalent amount of work. If the minimum wage was a living wage, like in Australia, then this wouldn't be a problem. But instead American welfare/min-wage clearly incentivizes staying just poor enough to keep getting benefits, or else you are actively making yourself poorer by working more.
This is why so many Walmart employees are on food stamps.
> many Walmart employees are on food stamps.
Are you implying that Walmart employees are not 'working poor', or is the first sentence a dramatic over-generalization that doesn't contribute to the conversation?
Poverty depends on perspective. Most Revolution-Era Americans were living in what we today would call extreme poverty. But you can have a tv and a smartphone today and still be quite poor, because of the difference in consumer cost between things we need and things we don't need.
>There is a big difference between poor and working poor. The poor get handouts, the working poor get fines because they can't afford Obamacare. Then people wonder why the poor don't struggle their way to working poor.
This isn't true. The CBO extensivesly evaluates changes in benefits and taxes to calculate effectice marginal tax rates across the income distribution to make sure that you never make less money from working more. There are a couple of ranges where you will lose money from working more, but none of them are larger than 25c/hr.
California has some incentives that cliff at around $40k per household, no graduation (e.g. renters deduction).
The marginal tax rates include the combined effects
of federal and state individual income taxes, federal
payroll taxes, and benefits from the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance Program and cost-sharing subsidies
for health insurance, generally on the basis of 2016 law.
Now I do think it's true that the income ranges where the effective marginal "tax" rate is over 100% are fairly narrow for most households. But the ranges where the rates are less than 100% but not much less are far wider. And that gives you an effective take-home hourly wage that is tiny. If you happen to have kids, it almost certainly doesn't cover daycare costs, for example...
Granted is there some small(~1-3%) portion of the poor who have a marginal effective tax rate greater than 100%. Probably. Are they representative of the vast majority of the poor? I don't think so.
United States job training programs do not work - they are a 1980s Reagan-era privatization scam to funnel tax dollars to private scam "training" and "job" centers that do not provide effective training or result in any meaningful employment outcomes: http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/?GCOI=8014010004030...
Job training needs to be stopped being mentioned as a realistic or viable option - it is a Republican distraction to free public universal vocational and university schooling in certified and accountable programs with qualified instructors: "why do we need free trade schools, we already have job training!"
People are pathetically easy to manipulate for the most part. The poor are the demographic that most frequently votes against their interests. The fascinating part is, it would be easy to conclude that perhaps these people are simply not very clever.
Well, that's certainly true for some fraction of them, to some extent... but I really don't think that this is the main factor (or even in the top 3), no - rather, I just think that it's a combination of their being credulous, and not particularly predisposed toward a special type of socially-strategic thinking. Like, the sort of thinking that manipulating psychopaths use to bend people to their will. Like you said, the poor are often plenty clever and useful, they often just get manipulated and used.
What I don't know is whether this is just a matter of education (and so long-term improvement is viable) or whether it's more of a societal-cultural values thing... or even, I guess, a biological thing (there is probably at least _some_ component of this but probably very minor relative to the others).
I'd want education to include a kind of mental self-defence component, so people can protect themselves against mental infiltration by virulent memes (eg, religions and other ideas which abhor and resist attempts of inspection and eradication) and demagoguery... as well as a heavy focus on critical thinking in general. Learning _how_ to think - not_what_ to think.
This itself is a meme. Shouldn't we sometimes vote against what's technically in our own narrow interests in favor of what's in everyone's interests or that of future generations?
Quite frankly it's disgusting and repulsive. Community rules be damned.
Call them the "lucky poor" or whatever you want. Come to Las Vegas (not the strip) and see for yourself. Unfortunately, I'm living it first hand right now, coding away on my own self-funded project--yes, making decisions about which bills to pay etc.
I'm an anomaly. You are an anomaly. Perhaps you went from one anomaly (extremely poor) to extremely rich, and along the way missed the common scenario I'm bringing up. I'm simply stating the welfare state IS REAL (yes, even if they offer far more in Europe) to make my initial point that: the aforementioned group of people are NOT CONSCIOUSLY AWARE of the value they cannot create, and that it's "out of touch" to think they are. For the group I'm talking about, that's simply not their pain point.
We tech people are obsessed with creating value and assume for the majority its the same. We are projecting ourselves on to them, yet we are very different. They aren't seeing life through the same lens. If we really want to help people, we can't go from 0 to 60--we cant take people that aren't thinking about creating startups, tell em to their face "if only they created value they would be happy" and tell em to climb a mountain to do so. They won't make even the first step. We can't help bring others up unless we truly understand what they're dealing with, and what the initial baby-steps actually would be. So I apologize for my insensitive tone. It's a sensitive subject and I expressed some of my own frustrations with such people that I'm dealing with on a daily basis, which from my standpoint seems to be everyone but me. That all said, I think opportunities to create value is the answer--just, we must recognize we can't sell them a better future by telling them: "you aren't creating value, if only you were, you would be happy." That's as condescending as it gets.
Ultimately, it is hard to teach old dogs new tricks. Education and more opportunities for future generations is the best we can do. That's my current standpoint. My perspective is that it is very impractical and unlikely to teach a 50 year old cashier anything else. If we could magically produce statistics it wouldn't be looking good. This is reality. There's legions of people with minimum wage jobs that will have minimum wage jobs their whole life. One group may be in utter despair because of it, and another (the lucky poor) might be able to make it work well enough. The best we can do is show future generations the satisfaction, pride, etc that comes from the mastery of skills and creating things. The problem is in these communities there isn't the role models for success like in NYC or LA/SF. I grew up in NYC. I'm living in Las Vegas now. I see the difference in mindset daily. In NYC everyone is a hustler and about something. In Las Vegas once you get away from the strip and people who service it, virtually nobody is. Young people are absorbed with being wannabe gang-bangers and are not thinking about creating some enterprise or becoming an artist or whatever. I AM IN THIS DAILY and see this first hand. Have nephews and family members living like this.
NOW FOR MY RESPONSE TO YOUR PERSONAL ATTACKS: It sounds ultimately like you have lived your life siloed in an elevator from the bottom to the top and barely took a second to look around. It seems you care more about telling us all about how far you've come and how much money you now make. That's your ego at play. For you, it was very stressful being poor. So stressful you did something about it. What I'm saying is that for many it's nowhere near as stressful for them to do as much as you did about it. Put that in your pipe in smoke it, what do you say about that. There's no much you can say. It doesn't sound like you did very well at being poor. It sounds like you got one taste and as soon as you were of age, you headed for the hills. It's a common story. No shame in that. And I'm happy for you. However, I'm doubtful that in your later more inevitably conscious years you were around much to watch it first hand. Whatever it is, your words don't help. I'm apprehensive as to how much you actually do want to help. Typically the words you have shared--about how far you've come and how much money you now make--serve no purpose but to make you feel good about how far you've come. So for those that actually do want to help, THERE IS A PROBLEM: people are under-educated, are not surrounded by models of success, and perhaps if they were actually conscious of how little value they are creating and how accessible it is to create value, they might. But to pretend like they are all aware of this lack is completely unproductive. If they were they would be taking the first step to clawing their way out of that dead-end scenario.
NOW FOR A SOLUTION: well for one, there never is a silver bullet. This is a large country overseen by a bloated stagnating government that each year wastes a larger percentage of taxpayer money than the last. That likely isn't changing any time soon unfortunately. We can't rely on them to overhaul our schools. Technology has become cheap--and as poor as everyone is--they all manage to have modern phones and TV setups. Education technology is simply the key. Not necessarily in the traditional sense, but that too. As technologists it is our mandate to bring as many opportunities as possible to small screens in people's hands. I think we also--going along with the theme of this discussion--need to put pressure on people to be somebody. Simply put, many people are not growing up with any urgency to do something great, be somebody, call it whatever you wanna call it. If you don't grow up with the urgency to hustle, you likely won't. As a controversial of a point as it is, it's just the reality. The people in this forum--us--got the "do something big" bug. I think it can be taken to negative extremes, but overall I think it's a positive thing. So I'll just sign off by saying abstractly that through our apps we need to convey this vision, this mandate, so future generations between LA and NYC are inspired.
Despair is exactly the word I would use to describe the feeling of not being able to make your bills and not being sure if you'll ever be able to save enough to afford moving to a more prosperous place. I'd say the majority of my friends and acquaintances at the time felt that way, too. The only reason I was ever able to escape was luck; my grandparents had to rescue me from a variety of financial disasters that would be extremely minor for somebody not on the edge of being able to make rent. It's amazing how much damage getting a $25 parking ticket because you had to work late can cause when you're working a minimum-wage -- (at the time: $5.15/hr) -- job. Lack of aspiration is definitely not the problem; lack of hope definitely is, though.
I don't mean to engage you in a debate about this, though; it seems like you have already made up your mind. I just don't want your comment to go un-challenged.
I think that's the view that's easy to come up with for smug HN software creators.
I've lived in poverty while working a minimum wage job, and while it was only for a couple years, it utterly destroyed my morale. There was no reliability; nothing I could count on. If something happened; if I got sick or if something broke down, then I would have had to go to a loan shark. Not because I was stupid or because I didn't understand that I'd never be able to pay the loan back, but because there would simply be no other option.
Long story short, I escaped that situation largely through luck, but I try to keep reminding myself of what it was like in the days where I had to double-check my bank balance before agreeing to go out for Chik-Fil-A.
While I understand the sentiment and may have even expressed similar feelings when younger, the reality is a bit more nuanced.
It's more like they hit walls and repeated failure when trying to move up the ladder and eventually just gave up. You may not have been around for that, but it did happen.
And yes, there are plenty who are so persistent that they never stop trying and eventually do experience some level of success ... but that doesn't excuse a society which is openly hostile to those who want to do better and instead shoves a government check in their mouth.
Have that happen to you often enough and you'll choose to play video games instead too. At least with video games, success is just around the corner. They were designed with you winning in mind.
I could also add, that very few on the outside are truly looking into the glass room. Some will be aware of it and its inhabitants, but of those most are uncomfortable or even offended. For some those feelings arise when considering the inhabitants; for others considering the glass room itself. "I did not create the glass room", they think. "I did not put those people there". While they may feel some sadness at this state of affairs, they do not at all see themselves as causally connected to the glass room or its inhabitants.
Some of the inhabitants of the glass room may try and communicate their presence and their dissatisfaction to those outside the room. But largely, those communications are either misunderstood, or ignored. Many of those that tried to communicate conclude that the minds of the "outsiders" are as impervious as the glass walls of the room itself.
To those on the outside, it does indeed seem as the glass-room dwellers have lost any fight. "How can we help those that won't even help themselves?". "Knowing nothing other than the glass room, perhaps that is where they are most suited to stay. They seem content enough."
Perhaps the walls contain an unknown but fatal flaw? The walls seem able to absorb vast quantities of anger without exhibiting any faults. Yet upon reaching a (very high) threshold, that pent up anger may cause the walls to suddenly shatter. I wonder, how much fight will the glass room dwellers will show then?
Edit: grammar fix.
I condense your analogy to the aphorism:
Until people realize they can change, they won't try
However, I think your version could be subject to misinterpretation. When you are referring to change, are you implying "themselves", "their circumstances", or both?
In the story above the glass room dwellers did change themselves - from aspirational to resigned.
So perhaps, the compression was "lossy" after all ;-)
Well, I know the opposite first hand. The idea that poor are content being poor is totally out of this world, especially in the US where the welfare and "handouts" for poor people are a joke (compared to Western Europe, nordic countries, etc).
>Things work and all you need is to be able to hold a minimum wage job for a few years at a time and when you get fired you can take a few years off while another friend or family member is on deck, meanwhile you're contributing food stamps the whole time, 6 months of an unemployment check, money from a few scams here and there, electricity bill deductions and many other such benefits you can get if you are below the poverty line.
This is crazy talk compared to all the people I've known and listened in such conditions. This is much closer to how poor people working such "minimum wage jobs" actually live:
Yet you are actually addressing a different point than the commenters in this thread. The rest of the commenters are talking about the unlucky poor, those who are trapped and aren't able to live comfortably with the support of family and friends.
As to what proportion of poor are the unlucky vs the lucky, this is less easily discovered. I imagine the "unlucky" poor are at least half. I don't have any data for that.
And that's kind of the whole point of the article, isn't it?. The poor and working class people in my life don't complain about how "busy" they are nearly as much as the more well-to-do, despite being so much busier than the middle-class-and-up. They don't talk about it like that, because they're much more grounded in reality. Meanwhile, many college students, lawyers, doctors, engineers, programmers, etc. are acting like they can barely spare a minute because of how busy they are. Maybe these people are busy, in a sense, but the whole point of the article is that they're not nearly as busy as they believe they are.
I think there's a deeper issue at play that the article doesn't touch on: that acknowledging you're not busy is perceived as laziness. There's a certain culture of shared misery, where we all agree to tell each other that we're all so busy, and then we can all feel good both about what we do and about what we don't do.
Here's an anecdote (that's meant to illustrate a situation, not talk myself up): when I was in school, on more than one occasion I had someone tell me that I must be "so busy" because of my major and programs I was enrolled in (and the fact that I was pulling off good grades). When I told them that no, I really wasn't that busy, they were incredulous. There always had to be some explanation for why I wasn't busy, like that I was cheating or taking easy classes or something. The problem was that they thought they were busy, and they figured I must be doing at least as much work as they were, so by deduction I must be busy too. Well it turned out I was doing just as much work as they were; I just didn't think that qualified me as "busy." One person, after drilling me on how much time I spent on school work, scoffed: "Oh, so you are busy then," and thought I was just trying to act cool or something.
I don't believe that you're not allowed to write about a social phenomenon just because there are people in world to whom it doesn't apply. It's very clear the types of people the author is talking about.
That said, free days on the beach? Midday naps or sleeping all morning on a hotel room while traveling? I sleep less on business trips, and can't fathom just sitting around the beach all day.
I'm not saying my life is harder than hers, it's almost certainly not -- I'm just saying if I had 1 kid, let alone 4, it would put that to shame.
I'm not sure if you meant it literally, but I do know a lot of people who do. They literally get offended and defensive if I suggest they have some free time to do something.
But there really isn't anything shameful about successfully budgeting time, just as there isn't anything shameful about having spare money left over from your paycheck. Quite the opposite, actually.
"I spent a mere 9.09 hours weekly on housework and errands"
How is that possible? Housecleaner? Personal shopper? Nanny?
We spend 6-8 hours each week shopping around trying to save money on just groceries, and that's not including clothes or haircuts etc.
Of course I spend a lot of time with the kids, playing, dressing them up, changing diapers etc. All day basically. But that's more like hanging out than housework.
Curious, How much money are you saving in exchange for that effort?
HN Comments here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12429693
Specifically my comment on the guest writer being fairly privileged: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12433360
...You know cause everyone can easily retire to Manhattan...
Have you priced day care centers vs nanny shares? You do realize that most people using a nanny would trade that arrangement for quality government child care in a heartbeat? It is not uncommon for several dual-income working families to be sharing the services of a nanny making $20/hour, very often under the table, meaning there are all kinds of potential liabilities and risks for both the parents and the nanny.
Imagine a working middle class family just trying to be modestly successful. They go to college, they move to where they can make the most money. There is no extended family nearby. They end up shelling out a huge portion of their income for child care.
You're right, the poor have it worse. And you're probably right that the writer is on some level "out of touch." But god, it has nothing to do with the fact that she is "talking about nannies." Nannies are not some luxury thing in this country; due to the near total lack of government support, there is huge demand for them, which is often met by vulnerable workers (immigrants) connecting with other vulnerable workers (parents essentially forced to turn to unvetted nannies if they want to both work an keep their head above water).
Except it's not true. The poor and working class have a lot more financial stress and less power to change.
That doesn't make them busier or mean they work harder.
her husband: high up in McKinsey & Co
1%ers or 0.1%ers? maybe even 0.01%ers?
I'd venture they are approximately as out-of-touch as the people who give the poor and working class those extremely busy schedules in the first place.
A billionaire can buy a new Mercedes Benz every day, and burn it to the ground in a pile of $100 bills at the end of that day, and not run out of money their entire life. So...
Most professionals have a financial safety net the working class do not. That is a huge psychological difference.
I am starting to see that it applies to time as well. I used to feel like I have no free time. However, after thinking about it, it feels like that because I have big ambitions. I just want to do a lot.
I want to do my job well, work on my side project, spend quality time with my wife and kids, keep the house in good shape, get myself into better shape, help those around me, cook and eat healthy, grow my tomatoes, develop my mind, entertain myself, read books, keep up with the news, socialize with friends, call mom and dad, travel the world, and also have time to be by myself and cultivate calmness through solitude.
That is a lot. I've realized that I was demanding too much from myself. I made a conscious decision to lower my expectations of myself. I will still do all of the things above, and likely many more. I just won't try to do them this week, this month, or perhaps this year.
In a similar note. I believe that it is has been shown that happiness is believing that the future will be better.
So it more important to have positive expectation of the future than your present reality. Because you adapt to your present reality whatever it is but you always need to know that things will be better.
I've found even the thought of worrying about work I need to do in the near future can prevent me from participating in hobbies, despite having ample time for those hobbies.
Drop the kids at school by 7:30, go home and shower and eat quick, run downtown to work, pop out for a meeting and get back, stop home and eat, off to grocery store -- well, two actually because neither one has the entire list -- then back, quick nap (timer, 15 min), edit kid's essay draft, keep cats from killing each other, run out and pick up first shift of kids after school, home to let in furnace repair guy, back out to get kid's hair cut, stop to buy batteries and get cash and gas during haircut, pick up second shift after school, back home, do last night's dishes and make dinner, take kid to evening activity (an hour in traffic), swim while he's there, shower at the Y, pick kid up, and home again to eat dinner at 9.
Partner's in NY at work til late, but this is a very typical day of no-research-accomplished-whatsoever, and really I ought to fit in "make tomorrow's dinner" later tonight because tomorrow looks too full already.
While basically true it's been 6 years since we had our first kid (we're have two now) and I'm still not very good at context switching.
I mean, I have a girlfriend I only see on weekends, and that's already a huge drain on my productive time. It's made me noticeably dumber.
During the nuclear-family era, the idea was that dad would specialise in in-zone work and mom would specialise in interrupt servicing, but both before and after I think it was rather more fluid.
Setting aside rural/country living where your neighbors were miles away, urban (large or small city) living was more centered around local shops, parks, and other environments. Now they live in a sea of houses, and have to travel way outside it to get to other activities or free space like woods and parks for play.
Cities certainly have existed for ages, and they did allow for children to be quite autonomous. It's the post city move to the suburbs (setting aside the helicopter parent cultural shift we've had) that created a large impact on the availability of options for kids to act as independent people.
Additionally, for teens, suburbs make having their own jobs very challenging (though it can reward the entrepreneurial few who start their own service businesses like lawn mowing or raking). Again, short a car, suburbs make life difficult for them, they require the assistance of their parents or others to transport them around, which reduces their autonomy.
Doing a surface analysis of that highlighted lots of places where I was doing something I wanted to do and later counting it as "wasted" time. So for example if I spent an hour watching a television show and later felt I had wasted an hour watching TV, I could go back and re-score that to "I wanted to watch television and I did, why are my priorities for that time different now than they were then?"
And for me, there were two things that were key to me getting better with my time. One was to be explicit about my priorities, and the other is the bin packing problem.
If you spend three hours on things, separated by 15 minutes between hours, you end up "losing" 45 minutes because 15 minutes is too short to spin up a new task but long enough to be meaningful.
If I wanted to address the bin-packing problem then it meant being a lot more thoughtful about planning my use of time. And doing three one hour things back to back (with a plan to switch tasks at the earlier of "I'm done" or "it's been an hour" that coalesces the three 15 minute chunks into one 45 minute chunk which is enough time to watch an hour long TV show if you can skip all the commercials.
It's high-status to be busy. Time tracking, while useful for some, is more likely to be a way for people to play the status game.
I suspect the working poor or people who actually have less control over their time are more likely to say they're exhausted/tired/overwhelmed than 'busy'.
Busy to me is someone just advertising they're important.
I know I wasn't great with money until I counted every cent for a while, I wonder if the same effect could be replicated for people who don't spend their time as effectively as they'd like.
Offer a similar "budgeting" experience as YNAB, but constrained (you literally have 24 hours a day, no more, no less). Create categories and subcategories. Work - Programming, Meetings, blech; Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Preparation, Shopping; Kids - Transport, playing with, working with; Home - Bathroom, Kitchen, Floors, Mowing; Financial - Bills, Budgeting.
Open the app and log your time, specifying the appropriate category. Reallocate time. You wanted to spend 24 hours at the lake this month (rented a cabin, camping), but you needed to clean the gutters and forgot about it so you go to the lake later on Saturday, not first thing in the morning.
Would be able to generate reports at different levels of granularity, like a budgeting/accounting app can. Generate a daily, colored, chart so you can see where in each day you spend time (or don't for unaccounted for time) and identify trends and problems (I go to bed between 8pm and 11pm, maybe I should make that more regular).
Busy to me - paradoxically - is correlated with not getting shit done. It's one thing to have a lot to do, and get 90% of the tasks done, and another to have a lot to do, and get 10% of the tasks done, with the other 90% rolling over onto the next day.
It's the roll-over that's really the stressor for me, when I feel most "busy", and that creates a self-fulfilling prophecy for the next day, when you have that much more to do.
This article represents a crazy mindset. We are not in the middle of the Industrial Revolution. Nobody should have to work so much any more.
BTW. She has 4 weeks vacations.
Don't worry about all the self help material, it really is a simple workflow:
From an overall "how to think and act effectively" philosophy, the original is still the best IMO: "The Effective Executive", by Peter Drucker, written in 1967. It contains very simple ideas, but I've found them to be tremendous life lessons on how to do the right things, rather than just doing things right.
I'm a big believer in not trying to fit too much in. As the author says, there are only so many hours in a life time, so actually experiencing it rather than trying to fill it is perhaps another way to look at it.
It's unimaginable that we're supposed to pity the family which rakes in more than half a mil per year, and almost as much after taxes. $650k is more than plenty of C-suite executives make in a year, and places that dude and his poor wife and four kids in the 99.5th percentile for income.
We're supposed to feel bad for these obscenely wealthy fake people?
Irresponsible from HuffPo, but, what do I expect from people trying to get clicks?
I guess it depends on what kind of retired you are. If you're living off of $1000 of dividends per month, or a $600 pension, then you're probably not upper class. At $4000/month like the couple in the picture ... borderline?
Maybe once you retire you just stay the class you were before you retired?
That's how I've always heard it, for what it's worth. The middle class, including the upper middle class, earns salaries; the upper class pays them.
Grey areas abound of course. Whichever definitionwe write down, someone can find an example that doesn't feel right.
Like, what if your 7 figure CEO is 8 figures in debt and all their assets are leveraged to the brim and if they lose their job it's all getting foreclosed by the bank and they're homeless in a month?
What if a 5-figure small business director/owner lives a comfy life well within their means and has 10 years of fuck you money?
(A bit suspicious now; none of them have direct links to the article.)
The artist isn't implying that the increases are unfair, but is simply depicting the effects of the cuts.
I personally wouldn't be so upset if I were the woman.
It makes me feel even worse on general principle when the exchange is coercive, using my example, I parked in a place that was designated by "random person with authority" at "random point in time" as not to be parked in, so if I don't pay my locally sanctioned protection racket I will be penalized. I will never see this as a positive thing.
EDIT: Also, it should be said that with things like taxes there is a distinct psychological effect/cognitive bias where people see less value in things where the effect or value of the transaction cannot be easily seen.
The 'wince' from paying taxes comes from the psychological disconnect between my actual use-level of the services, it isn't logical, but it is definitely there. This psychological disconnect is where libertarian positions come in, people want to pay for what they make use of, and no more. I don't personally believe that individualistic positions make much sense, but I experience why people would advocate for them in a visceral way when I pay for services that I don't use.
I have never once broken a bone or been a patient in a hospital for any reason, I have still paid for it.
I have never once used a fire service, nor can I think of a single person I know that has off the top of my head, yet I still pay for it.
The roads in my city are a great example because in my city the money has been mismanaged and they have not patched any pot-holes for over five years now. My morning commute to work across my city is as bumpy as rural country roads. And yet I am still paying for something?
These things add up to that wince when I pay money, but that isn't to say that we shouldn't pay for the upkeep of these services and I would never advocate for people not acting collectively. I think the 'wince' is more of a symptom of how disconnected we are from the other people in our community.
When we don't see the fruits of our monetary subsidies because we are disconnected from all the people around us we lack the positive stimulation our brains require to tell us we made a good purchase with our taxes.
"I have found that for women especially, it is the best antidote to the pernicious narrative that professional success requires harsh sacrifices at home."
"... a narrative of craziness, the sort professional women in particular tell one another as we compete in the Misery Olympics,"
These quotes minimize the legitimate problems women face. It authoritatively relabels the real concerns women have in communicating their struggles as "crazy" and a "misery olympics." It tells women their experiences are a superficial social game rather than actual problems.
Feminism has been trying to instruct the world as the seriousness of women balancing careers and family life, but this article tells them these stories, based on real experiences of learning and coping are just "pernicious narratives."
After reading this article, they're going to have to battle uphill to regain ground lost by this (ironically) woman telling them the issues they face are "lies."