Saving Time

April 5, 2010

Just a month ago I made a failed attempt to get to New York for Valentine’s Day. You see, my wife lives in NY and I was hoping to be there for V day. But instead of reaching there Tuesday evening, it snowed and snowed, and eventually the airlines told me that I could only get there on Friday evening at the earliest. Since I was to return Monday morning, I decided to scrap the trip altogether as there was no guarantee that flights would work okay. This, after being rebooked and canceled four times. When you are not gonna go, you ain’t gonna go!

So I stayed in California, and had five days clear with no appointments. And I got more work done in that time than any recent time I can remember. I really needed those blocks of time, and it had been impossible for me to get those built into my schedule. Except when the weather came to my rescue!

Lesson: Save time just as you would save money. Save it for a rainy day. When it’s there it gets put to good use. Having a stash of free time is important.

In many ways I feel quite stupid for having missed this simple strategy for years. I am quite adept at saving money but I was hopeless at saving time. With this realization I hope to be better.

Where was i going wrong? I let too many people take my time because I did not place a high value on it. When someone would ask to talk to me I would just check my calendar and if the time slot was free I would happily schedule a meeting, not once stopping to think if it was a good use of time. The cost is only apparent later, when you need the time and it isn’t there. It’s just like spending money willy-nilly and not saving for a rainy day.

Going forward i am going to be saving time aggressively. I have been doing it for a month, and things are much better. I have breathing room, and I feel less pressured. I am also saving others too from wasting their time. If everyone saved time aggressively, there would be so much time left for important things.

So schedule less, talk less, do a few things and do them well. Keep it simple. There is plenty of time for that. Time is money or not, but save both.