Time Management, Mistakes, and Scarcity

When people waste my time, I can get really ticked off. I tell them: “Time is the only thing I can’t get more of. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.” I can get more money (though wasting that leaves me pretty cranky, as well), and I can get more of any material possession. I can get more relationships, but, frankly, the analogy breaks down here, because relationships have a quality of uniqueness that time does not. And, yes, it’s true, you can seem to stretch time through meditation or entering flow states, but then, of course, stretched time wasted is an even bigger waste—excluding the value those practices may bring to your immune system.

When it comes to interesting things to do, my eyes are always bigger than my time budget. A person has to sleep at some point, and frankly, I’ve bemoaned this fact more than once.

A number of my friends and colleagues, of course, have dealt with this problem. They look at how to use their time more wisely. They give up television, handle each piece of paper (or email) only once, scale back time spent on social media, prioritize professional development activities carefully (doing no more than is necessary to stay employable), and take courses in time management.

Some time ago, while doing my weekend chores and listening to the radio, I heard this interesting, short piece on National Public Radio about scarcity of time and money and how they are similar and motivate similar kinds of choices:


Highly structured time management has its place. It certainly served a friend of mine well while she was working through a degree in oriental medicine. She scheduled her time throughout the day in ten-minute increments—and stuck rigidly to the schedule. She completed her degree as she had planned—and she was completely reliable about when I could expect her to drop off her dog to spend the day with mine—and added plus, since I didn’t have to waste of my time waiting for her!

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