What is the point of saving time? Is time management just a crock?

“Find More You Time!” This was a heading from a recent magazine cover. The byline was: “ten tips to try today.” Would you like to know what they are?  First, let’s talk about the subject of this article. How often do you see tips for saving time? Seems just about every day another article or expert is telling you how to “save” time? Do you know anyone who has time in a bank someplace?  “Yesterday I saved forty minutes and added it to my bank. I now have six hundred hours in my bank to use or to extend my life-time with.”  Wow, now that would really be something! Imagine if we could add all of our “saved” time on to the end of our life.  I have not heard of any time savings plan that would allow us to do that. Mores the pity!  I have not even heard of any savings plan that would let me transfer savings time from today to tomorrow.

Whenever I “save” time, I usually end up just relaxing. I suppose I could apply it to my next task and have more time to do it in, but it never seems to work that way. I mean, if you save time traveling someplace, what does that really get you? Look at those fools who tailgate and weave in an out of traffic as though it was the Indianapolis 500.  They drive like they think they are going to get an award for being first to work.  It might get you more time to do the next job or it might get you to an early grave.  Savings time seems to be akin to those ubiquitous diet plans that are always going to save you calories and thus help you lose weight.  Do you see all of the people that have lost weight?  Show me all the successful people that are time savers.

Maybe we are trying to do the wrong thing. Maybe saving time is not the right way to look at time. If we cannot really save time, then why describe it that way? What most of these ideas are about is really doing things faster or more efficiently. However, isn’t that what puts us on the treadmill in the first place? Always trying to do things faster and more efficiently; how many of us have become multi-taskers and to what benefit? Does multi-tasking really make us more productive or does it just cause us more stress. Maybe we need to learn how to waste time more.  Maybe we need to play more and have more fun?

Are you always trying to save time?  Have you managed to store time up for a rainy day? Are you always multi-tasking? Are you stressed out about not having enough time?  Is your concern for saving time making you happier or more productive? What if you took more time for fun and play in your life?  .

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bruce Galbreath
    Jun 06, 2012 @ 15:22:56

    You are right that we can't really save time. We each have a certain fixed amount of time (although we don't know exactly how much). We have a bank account, funded by God or nature, that we can't increase by savings or earnings, which we must spend. Our only choices, if they be choices at all, is how to make those expenditures. Suppose you had to make a cross country trip. 200 years ago, it would take you months. Today it would take a few hours by plane or a few days by car. These devices don't really save you time, or create any new time; they free up the time that travelling by wagon or on foot would have. otherwise cost you. Imagine that future technology gives us the power to accomplish whatever we want to virtually instantaneously. We could get a whole lot more done, or relax as much as we want. But we would still have the same fixed amount of time to do it in as we started with. Now imagine that future technology vastly expands our expected lifetimes. Instead of 80 years, we are now faced with 800. Has our available time expanded? It sure looks like it. But maybe the 800 years was always there and we were led to underestimate our account because we were ignorant of those future technological changes. Philosophers divide on the question of whether the future is there, waiting for us to get to it, or genuinely open, undetermined until we make it by our choices. If time is really a dimension just like the spatial ones, it would support the first alternative. I don't know what is going on in Paris until I go there, but that doesn't show there was nothing going on until I looked, just that I was ignorant, not in a position to see.



  2. John Persico
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 17:18:09

    Interesting comment Bruce, I tend to think Time is all in our minds. Like Stirner's “wheels in the head.” We make up all of these time concepts to fit our lives and needs. Who really knows what it means to be 80 or 20 years old. Perhaps useful reference points but many 80 year olds will go another 20 years and many 20 year olds will die tomorrow. Ray Bradbury was 91 and sounded young when I heard a talk he recently gave last year. But no doubt there is some aging process that causes things to wear out.



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