Do you have time to read this?

When a colleague asks me how things are going, my natural response is a variation on this: ‘Ah, you know – busy.’

There’s not enough time.

When I think up a new idea, for something I’d like to do on my own initiative, and pitch it to my boss, I often find myself adding as a sweetener: ‘It won’t take long’. There’s not enough time.

When I bump into an old colleague, and we agree that we simply must catch up, there’s only a 50% chance that we ever will. There’s not enough time.

I even find myself finishing kitchen conversations on the way back to my desk. There’s not enough time.

There’s not enough time for new ideas or for interactions with people instead of my computer.

So what is there enough time for?

The only thing left is the predictable, pre-ordained, regular work. That’s what I’m making time for.

But if time is so scarce that I don’t respond properly to a question about how things are going, or that I don’t pursue a new idea fully, catch up with an old colleague, or even finish a conversation properly, then surely it makes no sense to spend so much time on the predictable, pre-ordained, regular work.

Whatever is scarce is also valuable – and I believe that time is the most valuable resource anyone has nowadays.

Setting aside those opportunities for new ideas and new interactions in favour of ordinary work is, quite literally, a waste of time.

Author: toddmgreen

I really like making internet projects. I work on apps, games and websites at a TV company. I write stuff, make stuff, and accidentally break stuff. You should probably follow me on Twitter - @toddmgreen.

3 Replies to “Do you have time to read this?”

  1. You make your priorities, then live according to them. If the most essential element in your life is steady income, work will dominate and rule, as it does for many of us, certainly in a recession in its third year.

    If friends really matter most, you'll see them for lunch or dinner or somewhere face to face, uninterrupted, on a regular basis.

    Laura Vanderkam, a friend and colleague, has written a well-reviewed book, "168 Hours" about how we choose to spend, or waste, our time.

    1. Hi Caitlin – thanks for taking the time to comment! I'll check out Laura's book – looks interesting.

      I agree that you prioritise the things that are most important. And I agree that the choices you make determine where you spend your time – at work, with friends, or wherever.

      But it's what you do once you've got there that is utmost in my mind. I think that for me, and for many others, there's a tendency – a temptation, even – to be where you want to be but still to spend time on unimportant things. At work, that might dealing with unimportant stuff as a way of avoiding engaging with the important, but difficult things. With friends, it might mean checking out of a conversation to text or check emails – again, unimportant stuff that often gets in the way.

      In either case, time is wasted on the predictable, pre-ordained, regular work – the stuff that doesn't produce, create or inspire anyone or anything.

What do you think?