“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.” —Rodin
Time is all you’ve got. Spend it wisely. It’s a limited resource.
It’s also a unique resource. There’s nothing like it. You can’t buy more of it.
The best you can do is make the most of the time you have.
In The Essential Drucker, Peter Drucker writes about how time is the limiting factor.
Here are my key takeaways:
- Time is the limiting factor. You might have an endless supply of ideas or things you want to do. Time is your limiting factor. When you realize time is limited, you spend more time on what’s important to you and less time on what isn’t. You also focus on improving your energy to make the most of the time you have. When you know time is the limiting factor, you spend it on the right things and make the most of each moment. When you realize time is limited, you savor the moments you have.
- Time is a unique resource. It’s irreplaceable. You can’t make more of it. There’s no substitute for it.
- Everything takes time. Everything you do, uses up time. Make time for what’s important. Get rid of things that aren’t. This includes making time for free time if that’s important to you.
What Effective People Know
Effective people know that time both one of the most valuable resources and one of the most limited resources.
Drucker writes that time is the limiting factor.
“Effective people know that time is the limiting factor.
The output limits of any process are set by the scarcest resource.
In this process we call ‘accomplishment’, that resource is time.”
Yesterday’s Time is Gone Forever
Time is always exceedingly in short supply.
“Time is also a unique resource. One cannot rent, hire, buy, or otherwise obtain more time.
The supply of time is totally inelastic.
No matter how high the demand, the supply will not increase.
There is no price for it and no marginal utility curve for it. Moreover, time is totally perishable and cannot be stored.
Yesterday’s time is gone forever and will never come back.
Time is, therefore, always in exceedingly short supply.”
There is No Substitute for Time
You can’t substitute it. All you can do is use it better.
“Time is totally irreplaceable.
Within limits we can substitute one resource for another, copper for aluminum, for instance.
We can substitute capital for human labor.
We can use more knowledge or more brawn. But there is not substitute for time.”
Everything Requires Time
Everything requires time and it’s a unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource.
“Everything requires time. It is the only truly universal condition. All work takes place in time and uses up time.
Yet most people take for granted this unique, irreplaceable, and necessary resource.
Nothing else, perhaps, distinguishes effective executives as much as their tender loving care of time.”
Value Your Time
In all my experience, how you spend your time is among the ultimate choices in life.
You need to value your time, or other people won’t value your time.
When you value your time, it forces you to prioritize more effectively.
You’re always making trade-offs.
When you value your time, you enjoy the time you spend.
The moment is all you have.
When you realize that time is a limiting factor, you find ways to save time.
Rather than throw more time at problems, you find better techniques.
For example, there’s a technique called a Worry Break, where you limit the amount of time you spend worrying.
Although Drucker doesn’t call it out, I think that it’s important to think of time in terms of what you are thinking, feeling and doing.
For example, the time that you spend thinking about X vs. the time you spend doing X, or the time you spend feeling Y vs. feeling Z.
When you do this, you open up more options.
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