Time Management

The original text comes from 2012. The part from 2020 is added in brown font, and the part from 2022 in blue.

Introduction. Time - not only free time, but time in general is the most valuable, non-renewable and non-expandable resource that cannot be multiplied, just like income, for example. Well, with a proper lifestyle, you can statistically live maybe 25% longer, but what is this compared to the possibility of multiplying income, which you can have at the level of 3,000 per month, but you can also have 3,000,000 per month. So what can you do? Since time cannot be multiplied, then at least the time wasted on things that are neither pleasant nor useful can be recovered and used well (and there is quite a lot of such time). So I decided to recover this time and use it for what I want, first of all, for longer much vacations every year. Because time management is life management.

First, what everyone knows. Everyone knows about four simple ways to regain free time, but let's list them briefly here for the sake of completeness. 1. Everyone knows that in order to live happily and to have a lot of free time, you need to implement some systematic methodology of time management. The literature on the subject is rich, so probably everyone knows a lot about it and usually uses some method. 2. Everyone knows that in order to live happily and to have a lot of free time, you must not have a TV at home, because it is a huge time thief. Television makes you stupid not because (or at least not mainly because) it shows primitive programs, but because of the mechanism of transmitting information by "pushing" into the recipient, which is unnatural for the human brain and causes its deactivation and thus a gradual weakening of its efficiency . 3. Everyone knows, but not everyone makes a practical use of this knowledge, that in order to live happily and have a lot of free time, you shouldn't have Facebook, Twitter/X, Instagram, Tiktok and Tinder accounts, because it is a huge waste of valuable time and an effect similar to television. 4. Also, probably everyone knows that in order to live happily and to have a lot of free time, one must not play “a good householder game” and give up all housework that only seem necessary, but as a matter of fact is not. Do you follow these four principles? Probably many of you do, but you still don't have enough free time and don't feel completely happy, right? Do you know why? Because these four principles are really important, but you still miss the fifth most important one, about which I write below.

I love having a lot of time that I can spend as I want. But how to achieve this? First of all, what is simple, you should spend less so that you can work less (you can also work less by increasing your hourly wage, but it's not that simple, because it requires intelligence and persistence - and both of these things are highly scarce goods). Second, which is also simple, don’t do anything, what takes your time without giving you anything in return. Let's start from a less important saving - from saving money. I will come to a more important saving - time savings in a moment. So I was wondering what I was spending the most money pointlessly on. On car! Here is the cost of car ownership although the amount given there can probably be reduced by up to 35% for many car users, it is still a huge amount. Yes, there are some people who need a car in some situations and I do not deny it. Most people, on the other hand, mainly use the car to transport themselves, mainly over short distances to work and the like. Not having a car allows me to reduce my workload by 20% (50 working days a year) – that is additional two months of vacation. Anyway, I bought a car once, because everyone else had it. So I thought: I'll buy a car - I'll see what will come out it. A tragedy came out and I sold the car less than three years later. As well before as after I used to ride my bicycle and it was resulting in a much better quality of my life. Currently, in these two additional months which I gain not having a car, I go on excursions and laugh at car owners who, at the same time are working hard to maintain their vehicles. A man with a family with children saves much more time from getting rid of the car than a single person. He does not have to take the children to school and to other activities. The children have to get there by themselves - they learn to be resourceful, and he has free time. Two birds with one stone.

Cycling is practical and extends your vacations. The bicycle is the fastest means of transport in the city and in the countryside. You can ride a bicycle anywhere and park it everywhere. I ride on any relatively horizontal surface, taking various shortcuts and overtake most of cars and pedestrians. Most often when I go to classes at the university I go via ul. Polna, Księdza Brzózki, Bulwary Straceńskie and Generała Maczka - in this way I pass the city center and car traffic from a distance, and have nice views of the mountains, therefore I feel like on vacation during such a ride - this is my additional profit. Sometimes I pack an elegant shirt and exceptional tie into a pannier, and sometimes I also carry a suit. Nothing will get wrinkled when packed properly. I also sometimes carry a notebook and various other electronic equipment, and with adequate protection with amortization, nothing can happen. And I always have good weather, as it is the inner serenity of your spirit what makes the weather good for cycling.

Cycling extends life and accelerates economic growth. Studies in several countries have found that cycling to work is much healthier and cycling to work alone increases life by more than three years and improves health over time. On average, bicycle commuters were on sick leave for 5 days a year, compared to 11 days for car commuters. This translates directly into economic growth. In addition, they have a lot more free time, not having to spend it on earning money to maintain the car and not having to waste time driving the car. So the real time gain is at least 10 years.

Cycling is prestigious. When I cycle to work and to all places in the city and in the countryside where I need to get, others can immediately see that I am a thinking intelligent person because I have chosen the best means of transport. And the fact that others can see that I am thinking intelligent person is real prestige.

And what if the distance is too long for cycling? While on the bus I still use my time intensively: I take out my Kindle or my laptop and use effectively 100% of the travel time. If I was using a car, I would have to spend this time driving it and the time would be lost. During the epidemic we have in 2020, I simply do not travel anywhere that far, because there is nowhere to go - all the events were canceled (only during the summer holidays I cycled around our beautiful country). And if I really had to drive, this is one of the situations I wrote about in the third paragraph where a car may be needed. It is better to waste time and money on driving your own car than to lose your health and life by getting infected on the bus and then infecting other people. However, this does not change the fact that during the 30 years without a car I saved tens of thousands of hours and a lot of money (hundreds of thousands of zlotys) and these savings will stay with me forever, even if I have to temporarily buy a car for the duration of this epidemic.

I do not make other people's lives difficult when I ride a bicycle. Once a year, there is a Fiat Run in Bielsko-Biała, once a Tour de Pologne, and sometimes other events when the city center gets closed to car traffic. These are the only moments when it is possible to live normally in the cite center – there is silence and no stench and no poisons released from the exhaust pipes. For the sake of residents, they should close the city center to cars forever (not only in Bielsko-Biała, but also in every other city). While riding a bicycle, I do not make other people's lives unpleasant due to the smell of exhaust fumes, engine noise, and city congestion. In the more civilized countries of northern and western Europe, a very large part of urban commuting is done with bicycles and public transport. As a result, the living conditions are better there and the life expectancy is several years longer, because there are not so many poisons in the air.

Cycling is ecological. The matter is really serious: the emission of CO2 and other greenhouse gases during production of cars (a car weighs about 1 ton, a bicycle about 10 kg) and then emitted from their exhaust pipes contribute to global warming which, according to forecasts, by the end of the 21st century it will exceed 4oC, and will lead to climate change causing the extinction of humanity. But the rats will survive and will take over the dominancy of this planet. In addition, smog and all these pollutions suspended in the air already shorten our lives by several years. That's right, not only cars, other things also contribute to this, so the other things also need to be addressed. There are some lights of hope on the horizon, such as the latest developments in the field of photovoltaics, new electric batteries and other technologies. The efficiency of cells reaching up to 40%, a rapid drop in their prices and the increasing spread of technology give us a chance that within several dozen years we will be able to switch almost entirely to renewable (solar, wind, water) energy. The solar energy alone, which reaches the Earth, is well over tens of thousands times greater than the current one human energy demand (there are different assessments, so I prefer not to provide an exact number). Our demand for energy should not increase drastically (it will probably increase a little more, but then it will decrease), as the growth of the number of people in the world is slowing down and there are more and more energy-efficient technologies (such as passive houses, LED lighting and the development of high-speed railways, which are already used more and more in some parts of Europe instead of more environmentally harmful cars and planes), as well as for electric cars (which only makes sense if this electricity is generated from renewable sources). It also requires an increase in people's awareness so that they can start to think and stop poisoning themselves. But this rise in consciousness is already taking place; first in more developed countries, but it is also slowly coming to Poland - so far mainly in terms of heating with coal. So let us hope that our awareness growth will accelerate and we will take appropriate action before it is too late.

In light of recent events, it is very important to limit the demand for oil and gas. For years I have been trying my best here, cycling wherever possible. A bicycle does not consume fuel, so there is no need to import it. Other things we can do are: 1. Car sharing when the distance is too long for cycling. Blablacar for longer travels, and commuting together with our neighbors in one car. Only a driver in almost every car does not make sense. 2. Turn off the heating when it is not needed. Thermomodernization of buildings; thicker insulation, elimination of thermal bridges, ventilation through ground heat exchangers, etc. By the way, we will reduce the smog and the greenhouse effect.

Some people really need a car. Sometimes, due to the nature of their job (courier, service technician, etc.) or because of a disability or some other special situation, some people actually need a car. On the other hand, the majority of those who use the car do it without a significant need (that is, to carry only themselves when they have healthy legs) do not do it with bad intentions, but because they do not know that they will be happier when they cycle everywhere. Also other inhabitants of their towns and of our planet will be happier. Often some people think that something is impossible and they only see various problems that obscure the best solution. So we can tell them what the best solution is: use bicycle, ladies and gentlemen, not a car! You will gain tens of thousands of hours of free time and lots of money (hundreds of thousands of zlotys) and you will help save the Earth. These gains are many times greater than the all problems and all the “impossibilities”.

What kind of a bicycle? Currently I like the SLWB recumbent bikes the most, something like Rans X-Stream or Rans V2 Formula, although I also consider the rear wheel shock absorber. I've had the opportunity to ride such bikes for a while and the riding experience is amazing. I'm just arranging a purchase of such bike. For now, I have a regular cross bike, but immediately after buying it I changed all the contact points that determine the comfort of riding: the saddle, grips and pedals, as shown in the photos in the right panel. I will not write about derailleur and other equipment, because this knowledge is reserved for real bikers, and ordinary people like me haven’t possessed this wisdom.

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