Posts Tagged ‘work’

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

I think a lot about time.

One of society’s false myths maintains that retirement magically produces additional time. I have the same amount of time each day as everyone else. Time’s quite democratic, because everyone gets exactly twenty-four hours each day. We can spend them wisely or waste them, but we all get the same amount. When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Tim Ferris wrote a great book called The Four-Hour Workweek. Sounds like a great idea, but what happens to the other 164 hours if I don’t work? I can’t imagine that much reality television or cable sports.

Actually, Tim’s premise makes a lot of sense if you understand his definition of work: “anything you’d rather do less of.” We squander our time doing tasks we’d rather avoid, because we feel for some reason that we “have” to do them.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to stop doing productive, meaningful tasks. I want to make a difference, help others, and contribute something positive. And when I’m doing those things, it doesn’t really feel like “work.”

I’m in the process of revising my web site and integrating it with this blog. I’m doing it all myself, a large task when each step requires me to learn something new about the mysteries of html, php, and server file structure. My wife seems to think I’m nuts, but I actually enjoy this process. It doesn’t seem like “work” to me.

I don’t want to reflexively dodge unpleasant obligations and responsibilities. But I don’t want my precious hours to be spent, day after day, doing something I don’t value. We all spend far too much of our time doing what others expect or habitually following old patterns. Life degenerates into drudgery in which we go to work to get the money to buy the stuff, without ever asking whether the stuff really holds any significance.

I don’t want to become more efficient at filling up my time with more and more tasks, and I don’t want to be consumed by mindless routine and insignificant cultural expectations. That’s not living life on purpose.

I want to control my time, because it’s really the only asset I have. I want to do productive, purposeful projects, I want to have fun, and I want to nurture and build healthy, authentic relationships. None of those are “work,” but they all require time, energy, and effort.

I’m going to focus this week on investing my time in places that matter to me.

How about you? What’s “something you’d rather do less of?” How can you move toward that goal?


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