The Cult of Busy

 Posted by on 27 July 2010 at 1:00 pm  Advice, Ethics, Productivity
Jul 272010

I liked this article on The Cult of Busy by Scott Berkun, but this paragraph struck me as particularly noteworthy:

The phrase “I don’t have time for” should never be said. We all get the same amount of time every day. If you can’t do something it’s not about the quantity of time. It’s really about how important the task is to you. I’m sure if you were having a heart attack, you’d magically find time to go to the hospital. That time would come from something else you’d planned to do, but now seems less important. This is how time works all the time. What people really mean when they say “I don’t have time” is this thing is not important enough to earn my time. It’s a polite way to tell people they’re not worth your time.

I plan to wean myself of the too-easy habit of saying that “I don’t have time.” I need to be perfectly honest with myself and others: I’m not willing to make the time. That will be clarifying for me, as well as for others, I think. And that will help me make better decisions about how I spend my time.

Most of all though, I want to make sure that I’m “time-rich”:

People who truly have control over time have some in their pocket to give to someone in need. They have a sense of priorities that drives their use of time and can shift away from the specific ordinary work that’s easy to justify, in favor of the more ethereal, deeper things that are harder to justify. They protect their time from trivia and idiocy. These people are time rich. They provide themselves with a surplus of time. They might seem to idle, or to relax, more often then the rest, but that may be a sign of their mastery not their incompetence.

To hell with the altruism in the first sentence: time-rich people have time to devote to meaningful projects and activities!

Yesterday, I spent the whole day re-organizing my implementation of GTD in OmniFocus, so that I could gain much-needed clarity about my projects and commitments. That means that I’m extra-busy today, unfortunately. Yet it will enable me to be far more time-rich in the future.

  • Tjitze de Boer

    People who truly have control over time, don’t need a tardis.

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