Time Management

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

A man walked into Ben Franklin’s bookstore and inquired about a certain book.  The clerk said, “The book is one dollar, Sir.”  The customer continued haggling over the price, but the clerk assured him that that was the correct price.  The customer insisted on talking with Ben Franklin directly.

Ben Franklin stopped his work and walked out into the store.  The man said, “What is the price of this book?”  Franklin answered, “$1.25.”  The man was confused and said, “Well it was only one dollar a few minutes ago.  Tell me again, what is the price of this book?”  Ben Franklin said, “It is $1.50.”  The customer said he didn’t understand why the price of the book kept going up.  Ben Franklin said, “The reason the price is higher is that you keep haggling over the price and you are wasting my time, and time is the most valuable thing I have.”  Bear Bryant said, “If you hang around people who waste time – they will waste your time.”

Time is extremely valuable.  It doesn’t matter by what increment we measure time, each increment is valuable.  Someone has suggested that we can understand the value of time in different increments by the following exercise.

  • To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade.
  • To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gives birth to a premature baby.
  • To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask people who are waiting for an important announcement.
  • To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask the person who missed their plane.
  • To realize the value of ONE SECOND, as the person who avoided an accident.
  • To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person who finished second at the Talladega 500 or won a silver medal at the Olympics.

Because of its immense value some of us try to “save time.”  We use that term quite often about different ways to save time.  That is helpful if we know what we are going to do with the time we save.

There is a story of a Chinese student who was riding with an American driver determined to beat an approaching train at the crossing.  The American driver said, “Unless we beat that train we will be delayed by 3 minutes.”  The driver was able to beat the train to the crossing and barely missed a fatal crash by a few seconds.  Observing that foolish stunt that the American driver pulled, the Chinese student asked him, “Now what are we going to do with the 3 minutes we just saved?”

Use your time wisely.  Will Rogers said we can spend half of our lives trying to find something to do with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.

Don’t be fooled by looking how long something takes to determine how many meaningful things happened in that length of time.  This can be especially true in sports.

Look at your average baseball or football game.  An average three-hour baseball game contains only 17 minutes and 58 seconds of action such as pitches, balls in play, running, and throws.  Out of the three hours, there are only 17 minutes and 58 seconds of real action.  That is better than the average football game, which is determined to have only 11 minutes of action time.

Manage wisely one of the most valuable things you have – your time.


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