Each of us has an asset that is truly limited and irreplaceable. We can usually replace money by earning it again. We buy insurance to replace things in the event of a disaster, or can earn money to replace them.
One truly limited asset that can’t be replaced is time. If it’s lost or wasted, it’s simply gone.
One time, my son, James, complained when he had to return a new computer that didn’t work properly. “I don’t want my money back! Give me my life back!” (Referring to the time invested in setting it up and dealing with its failure to work properly.)
Author Frank Bettger shared these thoughts about time in How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling.
“If I were your own brother, I would say to you what I’m going to say to you now … you haven’t got much more time!
“I don’t know how old you are, but let’s assume, for example, you are about 35. It’s later than you think. It won’t be long before you are 40. And when you pass 40, time goes so fast. I know. I am now, as I write, sixty-one years old and I just can’t believe it. It makes my head swim when I think how fast time has gone since I was forty.”
Being age 70 as I write this, I’ve had the same experience. Time is especially a blur once your children graduate from high school. Have you had the experience of not seeing younger relatives, like a niece or nephew, for a period of time? The next time you see them, they’re suddenly grown! (How did that happen?!)
A tragedy of addiction is the time lost in the haze of drunkenness or the fog of the influence of other drugs or unproductive activities, like using slot machines.
What are some things we can do to use our time better?
One is to make a list of prioritized principles and goals. What is important to us mentally, physically, and spiritually? What activities are required to accomplish them? We should decide when and how to pursue those activities and schedule the time to work on them.
We can avoid distractions by not hovering over the phone and social media for voice and text messages and watching for emails. Schedule a time to answer them in “bunches.” Set appointments for telephone and video conferences. Schedule “office hours” times to be available to talk about other people’s problems. Let your family, clients and fellow employees know that this is your policy so they know what to expect.
A strategy I learned and have used to cut interruptions by co-workers short is to stand and occasionally look at your watch. If that doesn’t work, try to schedule getting together at more convenient time.
One important area that should not be neglected is working on healthy relationships. A study was conducted at Harvard University, following a group of Harvard graduates and an equal-sized group of children from a poor Boston neighborhood for 75 years. The common factor for those who had happier and healthier lives was having healthy relationships. Loneliness kills. Your very life is at stake. (What Makes A Good Life? by Robert Waldinger, TED Talk.)
A well-known stereotype is the hard-working executive who neglects his or her family. The executive claims he or she is “doing it for them (their family).” Then the family is lost in a divorce. Was material success really worth the price paid? Was it even necessary to do so? Why not set boundaries by making an agreement about the terms of engagement with the employer? Let the employer know what you are going to do when and why. The employer might be more understanding than you think.
Here is a link to a thought-provoking essay, The Station, by Robert Hastings. https://justjuliewrites.com/2013/03/24/the-station-by-robert-j-hastings/
Enjoy the ride!