Google Doc | Author: Mati Roy | Created: 2018-07-11 | Branched: 2019-03-12 | Updated: 2019-03-12 | Confidence: ideas | Quality: various ideas | Importance: 4 | Feedback: suggestions welcomed

Note: I didn't post on WikiHow in the hopes of improving differential progress (because the proportion of altruists reading my website is probably higher). Please let me know if you think you can change my mind on this.

Acknowledgement: I've seen various suggestions in various places; I haven't kept track of where unfortunately.

How to buy attention?

Or how to buy time and energy

See also


Asterix means I haven't tried that item.


Presumably, just as you can buy money with time (by having a job), you can also buy time with money (sometimes). Here, time should also be replaced with attention, energy, and related concepts.

It seems we sometimes do irrational trades as we don't buy time with money even when we could make more money with that time. Granted, there are many more subtleties to this line of thinking (ex.: maybe there are things you find more enjoyable), but I still find it suspicious when someone works 3 times as hard to save money as they do to earn money (ex.: spending an hour saving 10$ when they earn 30$ per hour). Usually, people ask for more money for time work at the margin (ie. overtime). So I invite you to consider if this applies to you.

As a simplified heuristic, one could think of how much money one can make per unit of time, and see how they could save such unit of time by spending less than that amount of money (if you earn 30$ / h, how can you buy >1h for 30$?). This article is meant as a list of suggestions to consider to exchange money for time / attention / energy. They are categorized in: outsourcing, automating, simplifying, increasing productivity, improving commutes, things to avoid, and other. When considering such trade-offs, it's also worth noting other costs that aren't internalized in the price such as environmental costs.


Fiverr is a platform where it's possible to hire people to outsource various tasks. The rationalist community also has a Facebook group for that called Bountied Rationality.






Increase productivity


Commute better

Or avoid commuting.


Things to avoid

Take monetary hit when it would take a lot of time to save money.