This week we tackle the conundrum of "how would you spend your time if you knew you'd die in 2 years?". We discuss some of the different ways of framing and thinking about this question, and to what extent it can help figure out what we're doing with our lives.

Some of the highlights from our discussion:

The question about how we’d spend our time if we’d knew we were going to die is sensitive to the time frame of the question. A time frame of 1 month is very different from 6 months, 1 year, 5 years.

The classic question of what you would regret doing/not doing at the end of your life is another crucial point to consider. More often than not, people would regret the things that you didn’t do more than what you did do. We should think about what we don’t want to have on that regret list – in other words, we shouldn’t put off anything that we want to do and/or try.

Having one thing that you do for your whole life is no longer as pre-determined as it once was. You could have five or six productive periods of your 'career', doing completely different things, which would be very fulfilling and interesting. The key is in finding a balance between doing work to secure an economic future versus living in the moment and engaging in activities that you enjoy.

Time slows down when you do novel things. When we are at work, the weeks pass us by without noticing whereas if we are engaging in novel activities – such as a ski trip that Ali talks about – the weeks feel slower and more engaging, we become more mindful about our time and how we use it.

Journaling and writing our experiences down, lets us live two lifetimes in one.

Whenever we are deciding what to do with our lives, we do need to have a sustainable economic engine. This metaphor can be extended in different ways – for instance the idea of passive of income can be seen as a renewable, sustainable source of energy fuelling the economic engine.


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What is this? Not Overthinking is a podcast about happiness, creativity, and the human condition. We talk about things to help us think, do, and be better. Things like social interaction, lifestyle design, mental models...things that are hard to examine, but important to explore. And hopefully, things that make for a fun and interesting chat every week.

Follow Not Overthinking on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noverthinking.

Who are we?

Ali is a junior doctor and YouTuber working in Cambridge, UK. He makes videos about medicine, technology, productivity and lifestyle design. His links: YouTube, Blog, Newsletter, Instagram

Taimur is a data scientist and writer, working on his own startup Causal. He writes on his blog and as a columnist for Medium. His links: Blog, Twitter, Medium, Instagram