Defending your time and attention

When my wife was the District Collector, Trivandrum, she was heading 200 odd committees. If the average committee met twice a year, you end up with 400 meetings — i.e., approx two meetings per working day. Yikes!

And this does not even count all the other meetings that are not committee-related.

Fortunately, while the private sector is less gung-ho about committees, the deluge of meetings and calls is still an epidemic.

Why does this happen?

When humans are born, there is an end — we all have to die one day. But when a committee is born, there is no prescribed end.

Any higher governmental authority or court can order that a committee be created. And then it often lives forever.

Like entropy in nature, the number of committees and meetings only goes up.

Here is the source of the problem: We implicitly assume that the time and attention of people come free. That is why we don’t mind asking everyone to ‘jump on to a call.’

But here is the bad news: In today’s age, access to data and information is limitless. But there is ONLY one thing truly scarce: Your time and attention.

Defend your time and attention like your life depends on it.

Because it does.

– Rajan


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