James Piecowye thinking out loud

Ideas, inspiration and a bit of random.

Time

Posted on | December 28, 2014 | No Comments

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Time is the one thing that we all seem to be struggling to get a grip on.

A recent Economist article gives some nice perspective on the time issue.

This has not turned out to be one of the world’s more pressing problems. Everybody, everywhere seems to be busy. In the corporate world, a “perennial time-scarcity problem” afflicts executives all over the globe, and the matter has only grown more acute in recent years, say analysts at McKinsey, a consultancy firm. These feelings are especially profound among working parents. As for all those time-saving gizmos, many people grumble that these bits of wizardry chew up far too much of their days, whether they are mouldering in traffic, navigating robotic voice-messaging systems or scything away at e-mail—sometimes all at once.

And the irony seems to be that the more we talk about time management, time use, time lag, time seep and timelessness the less able we seem to be able to find a solution to our problem, managing our time effectively.

I think the problem isn’t in time management but understanding what that means to us in an individual level.

There are too many, one size fits all, solutions that work best for the person who came up with the solution.

The Economist article sums it all up nicely at the end.

Writing in the first century, Seneca was startled by how little people seemed to value their lives as they were living them—how busy, terribly busy, everyone seemed to be, mortal in their fears, immortal in their desires and wasteful of their time. He noticed how even wealthy people hustled their lives along, ruing their fortune, anticipating a time in the future when they would rest. “People are frugal in guarding their personal property; but as soon as it comes to squandering time they are most wasteful of the one thing in which it is right to be stingy,” he observed in “On the Shortness of Life”, perhaps the very first time-management self-help book. Time on Earth may be uncertain and fleeting, but nearly everyone has enough of it to take some deep breaths, think deep thoughts and smell some roses, deeply. “Life is long if you know how to use it,” he counselled.

Nearly 2,000 years later, de Grazia offered similar advice. Modern life, that leisure-squandering, money-hoarding, grindstone-nosing, frippery-buying business, left him exasperated. He saw that everyone everywhere was running, running, running, but to where? For what? People were trading their time for all sorts of things, but was the exchange worth it? He closed his 1962 tome, “Of Time, Work and Leisure”, with a prescription:

Lean back under a tree, put your arms behind your head, wonder at the pass we’ve come to, smile and remember that the beginnings and ends of man’s every great enterprise are untidy.

So, how well are you managing your time and what are you doing to change your own little space?

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