Work smart, create white spaces

This Week: Busyness, investing time wisely, deep work, the world in 2019, and more

Founding Fuel


In 1930, as the world was grappling with the Great Depression, John Maynard Keynes published a paper, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren. In it, he aimed to peer past the Great Depression and look into the distant future: A 100 years from 1930.

He postulated that in the times of his grandchildren, the struggle for subsistence would not be the prime purpose of life. People would have more time at hand and less work to do. “For three hours a day is quite enough to satisfy the old Adam in most of us,” he wrote.

“Thus for the first time since his creation man will be faced with his real, his permanent problem—how to use his freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure…to live wisely and agreeably and well.”

It is 2019. We have technology that complete us. From telling our blood pressure after lunch, to predicting rain, to using eye-balls to open doors. Our standard of living has leapt high. Yet, most of us live such moribund busy lives. Lives shorn of white spaces and time. Where is the free time to enjoy it?

This can play better don’t you think? 

Keynes acknowledged that it was going to be tough. “There is no country…who can look forward to the age of leisure…without a dread,” he wrote. “We have been trained too long to strive and not to enjoy.” His paper has other facets that I would invite you to soak in.

Allow me to also ask you to ponder over our busy lives. Busyness is a disease that occupies most of us. It manifests itself as full calendars and a chorus of “I have no time.” It does so with a sense of legitimacy, and the belief that being busy is the only way to succeed, giving a fast spin to the hamster wheel that we ride. From providing us our daily bread, it has come to provide us our daily fix!

While busyness may be default for many of us, we can design our day differently. What we are busy with is more important than just being busy. Thinking about our work is as important, if not more, than our work itself. Cal Newport and several others have been nudging us towards ‘deep work’. We need to give that some time.

On a different note, it’s been a good week for us at Founding Fuel. NS Ramnath and Charles Assisi have been lit fest hopping and participating in great conversations on The Aadhaar Effect. The rest of us are in projects that bring us face to face with the busyness business.  

The technology and the opportunity to lead better lives is omnipresent. The choices are ours to make.

Kavi Arasu

On behalf of Team Founding Fuel

From Our Archives

Emma Seppälä on building positive priorities

[By Michael under Creative Commons]

CKGSB Knowledge | Emma Seppälä, author of ‘The Happiness Track’, on the benefits of wellbeing

Work smart. Not hard

[By Shi Deru (a.k.a. Shawn Xiangyang Liu) under Creative Commons]

Kavi Arasu | Hard work is the base, but doing the same thing many times over will not help you solve a problem or master a new skill

Happily unbalanced

[By Blnguyen under Creative Commons]

Gourav Jaswal | Is it possible to work 250 hours a month and still remain healthy, happy and married?

What We Are Reading and Watching

The world in 2019

The Economist | What are the big trends of 2019?

How to actually, truly focus on what you’re doing

The New York Times | Tired: Shallow work. Wired: Deep work.

How well are you investing your time?

When Bill Gates was asked by Charlie Rose what was the biggest thing he had learned from Warren Buffett, he said it wasn’t about how he invested his money, but about how he invested his time.

Was this article useful? Sign up for our daily newsletter below


Login to comment

About the author

Founding Fuel

Founding Fuel aims to create the new playbook of entrepreneurship. Think of us as a hub for entrepreneurs- the go-to place for ideas, insights, practices and wisdom essential to build the enterprise of tomorrow. It is co-founded by veteran journalists Indrajit Gupta and Charles Assisi, along with CS Swaminathan, the former president of Pearson's online learning venture.

Also by me

You might also like