in Editorial , 359 references
As we head toward the weekend here's something to contemplate.
You've recently seen my essay on all of us having an hourglass full of sand with the top mostly-painted over, so we can't see how much sand is in there until it is about to run out. That is, it is almost-always true that one doesn't learn about their impending death until, well, it's impending. When was the last time you heard a doctor tell someone "you have 20 years left." No, they always tell you "you have six months", don't they?
Time is a funny thing. It's the one commodity you can't buy more of no matter how rich you are. Money does enable the compression of everyday tasks at varying rates, but that doesn't actually get you more time -- it just removes your expenditure of it on certain everyday tasks, should you so choose. For instance you can fly commercial and spend six hours door-to-door to go from A -> B, or for a (lot) more money you can hop in your LearJet and make the same trip, again door-to-door, in four hours or less. Much of that two hour difference is purely wasted with government-mandated bullshit such as the TSA.
Huge percentages of the population, however, fail at various tasks or barely eek by not because they're stupid, not because they're not capable, but because they refuse to master and accept responsibility for time management.
Indeed I would argue that a plurality if not the majority of failures at various tasks, whether it be work or school related, are in fact failures of time management.
That night out drinking, or the 20 minutes (or hour!) you spend on Facebook or Youtube can have a profound impact on success, and it frequently is a ripple effect too. You stay out late on a Friday and sleep all day Saturday as a result instead of studying for a final. Then on Sunday you cram in a panic, realizing that at 7:00 AM Monday you need to have your ass in the chair ready to go. The result is that you get 4 hours of sleep before the test and score a screaming "F" because you were both half-asleep and unprepared.
You didn't fail because you were stupid, you failed because you decided to blow off steam on Friday night and get puke-drunk, then needed all day Saturday in bed to be able to move. Had you instead spent Friday studying, slept a normal schedule that evening, studied for a few hours Saturday and Sunday and went to bed at 8:00 Sunday evening you would have gotten a "B" or "C" on the final instead of an "F" -- and passed.
Note that absolutely nothing changed in terms of your absorption of the original material, or your time in class. All that changed was your decision to allocate time first to the task that had to be done and rather than wait until the last minute, dedicating the time toward studying a couple of days in advance so you had a cushion if something went wrong. The difference in outcome is enormous.
It gets worse if you rely on something other than your brainpower (e.g. a computer, etc.) If you wait until the last minute to begin what happens if your computer crashes while you're writing that term paper? You don't turn it in -- and get an "F."
You are owed exactly zero forbearance from the professor in that case, since while the computer failure was not foreseeable your decision to wait was, and had you not jacked off for the previous two weeks you could have used someone else's computer or had yours repaired in plenty of time to complete the assignment.
Over the space of your life managing time efficiently and not can literally be and frequently is the difference between success and failure. A "death spiral" of missed deadlines that lead you to being evicted or having your power and water turned off and hundreds of dollars (which you don't have!) for reconnect fees and penalties imposed can quite-easily come from a simple night out on the town or a few hours blown playing "Farmville"!
Kids and young adults, I know you won't listen to your parents on this and neither will the adults, young or otherwise, who are guilty of the same thing -- but if you're reading this piece you know I'm right. You've probably made this mistake and hopefully it didn't have catastrophic consequences. You probably blew it off too, especially if you managed to talk your way out of the box you created or just "took the F" but it didn't kill your scholarship or otherwise imperil your lifestyle in some other serious way.
Trust me -- this is something you cannot afford to allow in your life, especially in a world where competition for resources is stiff and the forward economic picture cloudy at best.