Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The value of time

German theologian and ethicist Dietrich Bonhoeffer commented that time is our most precious resource (Prisoner for God, tr. Reginald H. Fuller (New York: Macmillan, 1954), p. 13).

Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture, with Jeffrey Zaslow (New York: Hyperion, 2008), pp. 108-109) recommends managing time as we manage our money, i.e., set goals, budget, and then keep track of how we actually spend our time. Of course, this approach only works for people, who like Pausch, are good money managers! But Pausch’s underlying presumption about time is valuable: we can only spend our time once. And unlike money, once spent, what we did with our time cannot be refunded or exchanged.

When Pausch learned of his terminal liver cancer, the doctor told him that he had two to four months of good health remaining. Pausch’s awareness of his imminent death helped him to appreciate time’s value even more than he had in the past.

Do you value your time? Have you struck a balance between self, family, friends, and work that maximizes your joy and love for God, self, and others? Which day(s) of your life would you live differently, if you could? What can you learn from those days about how to use your time today?

"One of the illusions of life is that the present hour is not the critical, decisive hour. Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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