Stop, Thief!

Somewhere in your life there is a thief. It’s probably a friend, a relative, or one of your online friends. The goal is to take something so valuable, you can’t buy it: time.

clockThe time thieves in your life are subtle. Sly. And you fall for them in big and small increments. It’s time you’ll never get back.

The friend who asks you to go shopping with her. You don’t need anything, and you went to lunch with her earlier in the week. You know this friend wants to bend your ear with gossip, problems, and long whines. Substitute a phone call and you will have 90 minutes you get to spend more wisely.

You just want to check in on your friends on Facebook, and after a few minutes, you look at the clock and notice two hours have vanished. You’ll never get them back. Set a timer to limit screen time.

You also give away your time as if you had endless amounts. You volunteer for projects at work that no one else wants. You want to be a team player. Laudable goal, but take on extra, unrelated-to-your-goals  projects only if you can easily complete it and it teaches you something.

You spend hours “keeping in touch” with friends by texting. You text at meals, while you are talking to other friends. You aren’t giving of yourself, you are simply filling time that could be better spent having real conversations.

Time seems limitless until it is not. It’s smart to budget your time, use it to make meaning and not let others steal it. Give it freely, spend it happily, but don’t let anyone take it without your permission.

—Quinn McDonald wishes she could save up time and use it on days that speed by too quickly.

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4 thoughts on “Stop, Thief!

  1. Marney Makridakis’ book Creating Time was a eye-opener for me. Not that I did very many of the projects, but I did really look at time in the many ways she dissects time. Really makes a difference in how I schedule things. And creative folk who like making mixed media art with meaning should really enjoy the projects too. Another book that has affected my willingness to stop living other people’s requests for my time is Your Money or Your Life. Thanks for the re-nudge. It’s been a while.

  2. When I saw the topic I didn’t really want to read it . . . too close to the bone. I’m very aware of time passing, of time wasted. I’m not talking about the afternoon sitting watching kids play, shooting the breeze with a friend or reading a novel because that’s time well spent. I’m talking about the times where I regret not having done something I could easily have achieved but instead I procrastinated at the outset and frittered a precious day. My favourite quote from Deng Ming-Dao in 365 Tao is: Each day passes whether you participate or not. And there comes a time when you fully realise that those days are short and limited . . . not that that makes then any less full of possibility!

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