Tremendous Time Sinks

16 April 2021

It’s always a challenge to identify which things you engage with be boring and which will be enjoyable, and, at the final level, which will totally consume you.

I remember reading an article which talked about how you should assume that every new thing you let into your life could be highly addictive, and therefore you should calculate the maximum amount of time it could consume.

If you fall in love with Die Hard, it will take you about 10 hours to work your way though all of them.

If you fall in love with Star Trek on the other hand, you’re looking at hundreds of hours before you’re done.

If you fall in love with World of Warcraft then … Well, there’s no actual limit to the amount of time you could spend on the game.

Some new interests are finite (such as Die Hard) or restricted (you can’t ski in the summer), but some are potentially infinite time sinks.

I’m of the opinion that you should limit your exposure to these infinite hobbies unless you’re really happy with the worst case scenario.

If you spend a huge amount of your future life jogging then that will probably be a net benefit on your life, if, on the other hand, you spend a huge amount of your future life on gambling, then that’s much more likely to have a massively net negative impact on your life.

Perhaps a good shorthand for this equation is to mix the analysis with that of identity.

Take whatever hobby or pastime it is that you are considering and look at those who’ve been most compelled by it. Do you want your future self to be more or less like them?

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