I recently watched a TED talk called Inside the mind of a master procrastinator by Wait But Why author Tim Urban. In the talk, Urban, a full-time blogger, humorously relates his lifelong struggle with procrastination to the audience. But under the light hearted shell, Urban addresses a much heavier point. He shows an image of a grid made up of small squares and asks the audience what they think it represents. It turns out to be the number of weeks in the life of a 90 year old person, with each square representing one week.
Tim has written about the subject of quantifying your life in weeks, months and years before. Here’s the image from his blog post:
At first, this may seem like a morbid outlook. I only have that much time? A week goes by so fast! But that’s exactly what I think is awesome about it. We don’t have much time to make an impact on Earth. Rather than looking at that fact in a negative light, it has lit a fire under my ass to make the most of the opportunities and time I’ve been given. It feels like ninety years is an eternity, but when I look at it in grid format, I realize it’s not much time at all.
Doing something about it
To make sure the message stuck, I wanted a way to remind myself to spend my time more wisely every day. Since I spend so much time at my computer screen for work, I decided to build a simple Chrome extension that shows my life’s grid every time I open a new tab.
I hope that sharing this encourages more people to live their days, weeks, and years with more purpose. The code for the extension in open sourced on Github. Any contributions are welcome!