The philosophy of time

BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2018 - 12:00am

I love watching movies, but only if I have the time for it. This is why, as rare as it is to have me visit the movie houses, I make sure that the movie I will watch would be worth the time (and the popcorn) I invested in it.

Old-time movies feature certain scenes in my mind that do not seem to fade or go away.

One of the scenes would feature the villain or some creepy person throwing money or literally lighting a match and setting it on fire. Maybe the reason is because the scene does not conform to logic. Who would, in his or her right state of mind, burn money? The reason being that money has value and burning it away is just plain insane.

But, have we ever considered how many throw away, burn down, or simply waste something that is even more valuable than money, which is time? We don’t see it as crazy because we always think that time is a resource that keeps on replenishing itself. It’s like even when I waste my time today there is still another tomorrow coming?

Oh, no. Time is a resource that is finite and has a limit.

Take a look at business. Successful businesses can condense all of its activities into two words – “Resource Allocation.” When we allocate the resources correctly, then we run a successful business. Wrong usage or application of resources leads to waste and is costly for business.

The same principle applies to our personal lives. We need to allocate the resources we have towards spending them on the right things that would yield maximum benefits. Failure to do so would cost us. What are these resources? These are our time, attention, finances and energy. In my seminars and leadership trainings, I cover all these. But for today, I will focus only on time. 

We hate being robbed yet wasting time is self-robbery.  The Roman philosopher Seneca said: “It is not that we have a short space of time, but we waste much of it.”

So, how do we make use of this resource and what is a good philosophy of time that can help us make the best use of it?

Here are some investments to consider that would help us manage and allocate time correctly.

1. It is important to invest in paying attention.

Distractions will cost you. More technology today is churned every day to provide entertainment and games that suck away your time and dull your focus. Time usage follows attention and focus. Your feet will always follow the direction of your eyes. Binging on movies and TV series, as well as playing endless video games divert and distract you from allocating time to do what must be done. This will cost you. Learn to focus and develop the skills NOT to be distracted.

Some people get bored easily and need entertainment to keep them “busy.” Just because entertainment captivates and captures the attention and imagination, the question is, “would the time spent doing these make us productive and yield good results?” I seriously doubt it. Somebody says this beautifully:  “Boredom is God’s way of telling you that you are wasting time.” A productive person rarely gets bored. If he or she is bored, there is that homing device within that person to compel him in seeking more productive things to do with the time available.

2. It is important to invest in personal development and growth.

We want to be productive, so we should invest in learning in order to achieve it. Truth be told, people who are not productive may not necessarily be deficient in skills and competence, for they may just be inept in the proper usage of time. Managing time is a skill that can be developed. When you invest in learning, knowledge and personal development, the upfront costs are real and visible and there are no immediate results that can be measured. But, the alternative for those who are illiterate in this area is that eventually, they stand to lose more. And guess what? There is still no means to effectively measure the loss, but the losses are there and you would know it.

The old adage is true. “If you think that education is expensive, just try ignorance.”

3. It is important to invest in relationships.

Perhaps, we are too busy to pay too much attention and too occupied to study and learn how to build and enhance our vital relationships. These areas cover family, loved ones and even partners in business endeavors. But when relationships are not developed and built, then a lot of time, energy and attention are wasted on senseless and useless bickering and conflicts. What a waste of time and everything else.

Time is a truly finite, expendable resource. The amount we get is uncertain, but surely limited. It is crazier to waste than money. Money that’s lost can be re-earned, but time is irredeemable.

You can’t see time; it is intangible and invisible, so it is so easy to just spend it away. Yet at the near end of our lives, that would be the time and moment when we realize its true value. The way you spend your time is the way you live your life. So, let us make sure that we are not wasting our life away.

Jack London said, “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” While the Roman philosopher Seneca said, “It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it.”

So, we should stop spending time and start investing time. Makes all the difference.

(Attend two inspiring days of leadership training with Francis Kong in his highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership seminar-workshop this Sept. 18-19 at Makati Diamond Residences near Greenbelt 1. For registration or inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)

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