How Would You Change the Way You Spend Your Time?

| 12/18/2009 11:41:49 AM

In an already (in)famously busy country, the holiday season in the United States may be even busier for many people — which makes it a perfect moment to consider the value of all that busyness. At the heart of this consideration is time: What you do with it, how you spend it and why you spend it as you do. Most people don't think of time as a resource, but I would argue (and I wouldn't be the first or the most eloquent to do so) that time is our most valuable resource. With all the money in the world, you can do nothing without time. And time has an important benefit that money and other useful resources don't. It's one in which we are all born rich.

We often receive letters from readers sharing their dreams of creating a self-sufficient homestead or growing container gardens on a city balcony. Regardless of scope or location, these dreams require time — time to plan, sometimes to save for, to bring into reality and to enjoy. It's so easy to fritter away time without considering the cost of doing so. How many hours have you spent on activities that are neither fulfilling nor enriching, or with people that (no matter how nice they may be) aren't enriching your life, or you theirs? One way or the other, you spend your time. If you're spending it on meaningless activities or perceived obligations that really aren't important, it's like paying twice the price for something you didn't really want in the first place. You paid in the time that was spent, and you've paid again by taking that much time away from the plans and people that you do value.

If you take a look at how you spend your time versus how you would like to, what would you change? What would you most like to spend your valuable time working toward? Let us know in the comments below.


The first time I heard someone discuss time in this way was when I encountered Rolf Potts' book Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel a few years ago. I haven't been able to shake the idea yet, and hope not to. Even if long-term travel doesn't pique your interest, I'd recommend the book for Potts' more thorough (and more skillful) discussion of the ideas above. 


Sara Mason
12/31/2009 10:56:56 AM

That's easy! LESS HOME WORK FOR KIDS. My niece has hours and hours of home work each evening. Even on the weekends. She's a high school freshman and I know the AP classes are more demanding but seriously, I don't understand how you should go to school all day long and then come home and do more of the same until bedtime every single day. Those kids need time to get out in the fresh air and get some exercise and have some FREE TIME to do what they wish. I know she even has homework over the holiday break. So for her I'd wish her more free time, time to do art projects, sleep, read for pleasure, visit with friends and family.

12/30/2009 10:08:33 PM

When I was a kid and just laying around the house my dad used to say "'ll never get that time back" On one hand he was right. On the other since I don't have a family and I'm off 3 months of the year, I once more find myself with a lot of free time.

12/29/2009 6:13:52 PM

My wife has MS and it has progressed this year to the point that she requires full time assistance. In July I determined that I had sufficient resources to quit my job and get by on what I have. Now I am now here with her rather than just here for her.

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