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The fine art of time management


March 4, 2012
Billie Shelton , The Daily Freeman Journal

For some of us, there's always too little time. For others, time weighs heavy; the days are long. Some of us spend our time wisely, while others seem to waste what they have. Then there are the folks who are always relaxed and never seem to hurry, yet they accomplish what they need to do and what they want to do.

Time is truly such a rare commodity; especially, perhaps, in these times as we try to pack each minute full. Multi-tasking is the norm. When we talk on the land line, we can still surf the Internet. When we drive down the road, we can make that call on our cell phone. If it's time to work out at the gym, we can listen to a book on a compact disc.

I have to admit that I'm no better at managing my time than anyone else, even though I've been juggling several employers simultaneously for years now. So you might think I'm practiced at doing it well. And yet I still often catch myself looking at the clock of an evening and thinking to myself, "It can't be that late already. I haven't done everything I planned on this evening."

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Have you ever noticed that some of us like to play what I call the busy game? It involves trying to one-up others. If someone says, "Oh, I have so much to do that I'll never get caught up," then you say something like, "You think you have a lot going on. You don't know what busy is. I didn't get to bed this morning until 1 a.m., and I was up at 5:30 so I could get to the gym before I came to the office. After work I need to make 24 cupcakes for Brett to take to school tomorrow. . . "

And on and on we go, like a windmill in flight, somehow convinced that we are impressing others with our importance because we have so much to do, when maybe we are just trying to fool ourselves.

As one gets older, it hopefully gets easier to understand that you don't really need that kind of recognition. And hopefully you realize, too, that time is a choice, that you can choose to spend it how you think you should-not how others think you should or in a way to impress others.

Maybe you understand better then, too, that time is a most valuable commodity that must be managed wisely. It's a sin to waste it and a risk to pack it so full that it's stressful. Keeping it all in balance is the goal. As I age, I notice I am less driven to use wisely every minute of my time, or maybe it is that what I think is using it wisely has evolved. Sitting on the couch often feels like a very wise use of my time.

As William Penn put it, "Time is what we want most but use worst."



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