Dixie Darr

In creativity, Learning, work on December 10, 2008 at 2:44 pm

Gift of Time

Your gift this year is the secret to time management. It’s elegant in its simplicity and so obvious that you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself. Interested? The secret to time management is this: Do less.

I know; you don’t want to hear it. You want to know how you can continue doing everything you’re currently doing and still have plenty of time left over to do MORE. Americans have succumbed to a cult of terminal busy-ness. This is the only country in the world with a national monument called Rushmore.

Part of this greed for time stems from our belief that time is money. It isn’t. If time were money, you could put it in a savings account and use it whenever you chose. You could take out a time loan, then pay it back with interest. We would all carry time credit cards and live on borrowed time. Killing time, like destroying money, would be a federal offense.

Time has become our most precious commodity. If time were money, people would stand on street corners begging for spare time. You could buy extra time when you need it. For example, I could have bought an extra 24 hours to write this column — and I could pay it back some day when I have the flu and time is really dragging.

If time were money, privileged people would have more than the rest of us. Instead, we all have the same 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can’t earn more, no matter how hard you work. In fact, the harder and longer you work, the less discretionary time you have available. Remember, work expands to fit the time available.

No matter how lucky you are, you can’t win more time. There is no time lottery. You can’t put a nickel’s worth of time into a slot machine and win back 500 minutes. If you spend your time doing something that doesn’t turn out the way you wanted, you can’t return the activity and get your time back.

On the other hand, we do experience time inflation. As we get older, an hour simply doesn’t go as far as it used to. Scientists say that soon we may reasonably expect to live 150 years. Unfortunately, those are 21st century years and they’ll only go as far as about 75 years in the 20th century.

Time isn’t money. Your time is your life, so don’t squander it on nonessentials. The only way to have an abundance of time is to use it only for things that really matter. That’s my wish for each of you this year–that you will get less done and enjoy it more.

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