Time Management: Putting Time on Your Side

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Derrick Smith
English 373
December 6, 2004
Project 4: Research Based Service-Learning Project

Time Management: Putting Time on Your Side

Time is life. It is irreversible and irreplaceable. To waste one's time is to waste one's life, but mastery of time usage is mastery of life and making the most of it. Einstein once said, "There is no absolute relation in time between two events, but there is an absolute relation between space and time" (Sharp 1). Time is a mystery. It cannot be tied down by definition or confined inside a formula. Like gravity, it is a phenomenon that we can experience but cannot understand. We are aware of the ageing of our bodies, of the effects of the movements of our planet, and of the ticking of the clock. We learn a little about what we call the past and we know that change is built into our lives. But neither philosophers nor scientists have been able to analyze and explain all of the meaning of time. Not only have they failed to provide easy explanations, but their efforts sometimes seem to have made mystery more mysterious and to have shown us that our lack of understanding was even greater than we supposed.

Some philosophers argue that the passage of time is an important metaphysical fact, but one that can only be grasped by non-rational intuition. Others tell us that the flow of time is an illusion and that the future can no more be changed than the past. Some believe that future events come into existence as the present; the future becomes the actual "moment-in-being."

When spending money, one presumably tries to balance their expenditures in such a way as to obtain the best possible yield. This means that one will probably refrain from spending all of their assets on a single commodity. Instead, one will distribute their expenditure over a variety of different goods and services. The optimum situation will have been reached when it is impossible to increase satisfaction by reducing expenditure in one field and making a corresponding increase in another. A more technical description of this condition of equilibrium would be to say that the marginal utility of one dollar must be the same in all different sectors of expenditures.

In the same manner, one tries to economize with their time resources. They must be so distributed as to give an equal yield in all sects of use. Otherwise, it would pay to transfer time from an activity with a low yield to one with a high yield and to continue to do this until equilibrium has been achieved. But in reality, neither concentrating all of one's time and efforts to one activity alone, nor spreading one's time equally across activities of unequal importance are good methods of managing time.

Time is a scarce resource, although in a rather special way. The amount of iron-ore in the world is fixed. When it has all been converted into iron and steel, we must then rely on recycling or find other metals as an alternative. Time is inexhaustible, and there are three time related constraints that prohibit us as humans from doing everything we want. We do not live forever, know not how much time we have left, and cannot use the same sect of time to carry out multiple activities. With the assistance of technology and the somewhat modern philosophy of multi-tasking, we are able to accomplish more than ever. Nonetheless, no one can be in two places at once.

"‘I feel like I waste so much of my time doing things that are not really important to me, while my life is slipping away,' or, ‘I have so much to do; there's just not enough time for me to do it all,' and even, ‘I'm harassed, overworked, tired, and tense. I seem to be forever pushing myself, and can't ever relax completely' are usually the last words you hear people with time management problems say before they reach their breaking point'" (Lakien 25).

There is no such thing as a lack of time. Everyone has twenty-four hours each day to do what you want or need to do. Some people may think that...
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