Saving time?

How we use time determines what our lives are and therefore what we are. Time- years, days, minutes, and moments are what life is made of. Here are some thoughts on time from an perspective.

Time management.

While this might sound like some business school concept  it can be put to good use. Consider that everyone has the same 24 hours of every day at their disposal. How much they accomplish in that time depends less on how much they work than on how smart they work. There might be certain times, for short periods, when you want to get a lot done by working hard: perhaps getting hay in the barn before it rains, or tomatoes canned before it freezes. But on a day-to-day basis, it’s far better to increase your efficiency. (And no, you don’t need fancy or expensive time-saving machines; in some cases, these can be counter-productive!)

The best way to do this is to think about it, and consciously observe how you spend your precious minutes every day.  Remember, efficiency is NOT about rushing, or about working too hard to smell the roses: it’s about doing the same job with less time and effort.

Time saving devices

It would be difficult to discuss time, and saving it,without mentioning time saving tools and equipment. In context this might not be as simple as it might sound. For example, let us debate dishwashers. A majority of people might feel that dishwashers are not only helpful, but border on being essential. “I would never have time to take care of the kids, my friends, the dog, the garden and chickens if I had to stand for hours washing dishes by hand,” is a common comment.

While the other side of the coin involves the amount of work required to earn the money to pay for the dishwasher, and the water and electricity it uses. Some might dispute that the appliance saves any time at all, with the right dish washing technique, while some may point out that washing dishes is a chore that can be done by youngsters who aren’t able to handle heavier work. A few might mention that dish washing provides an opportunity for family members to be together, to talk, or even sing.

A person might be puzzled by saving time with a dishwasher, only to spend it on producing vegetables and chickens or eggs but this is a choice. Other tools and appliances are similarly complex. Some people claim they can split firewood faster with a maul than they can with a powered hydraulic splitter. Figure the time it would take to earn the money to buy and operate the splitter, and they’re way ahead, they claim.

Many people have dug root cellars, and even full-size basements, with nothing but a pick and shovel. Most often the reason is a lack of money, but that’s just another way of saying that it’s faster for them to dig by hand than it would be to work for money to hire a crane or dozer. If the implement could be used for other projects over the years, the reverse might hold true. The type of soil, presence of rocks and the desire not to damage nearby trees could all be factors, but these too can be seen as time and money. It takes time for a tree to grow, and there are environmental costs.

Clearly there are many things involved, including not only the amount of use a tool will get, the difficulty of the work, and the cost (sometimes environmental as well as cash), but also individual skills, preferences, and means. An unemployed man in an area with few job opportunities and sandy loam soil would be more likely to dig a basement by hand than one with a high-paying job and clay soil filled with rocks.

However, most of us have been so lulled to sleep by the promise of time- and labor-saving goods that we fail to ask if the item will really save anything, after all the costs are added up. Here’s one way to look at that: If you think you really and truly need a dishwasher, would it be worth getting a job just to buy one? Say the appliance costs €400, and you can get a job that pays €10 an hour.

If you divide €400 by €10 you might say the dishwasher will cost you 40 hours of your life. But that’s the wrong answer. You’ll have to drive, let’s say, 50 kilometers round trip, to get to that job. That will probably cost several euros and more than an hour, every working day. If you’ll need another vehicle, with license and insurance, your costs go up drastically. You might have to pay for child care. Even if you don’t have to buy dress-up clothes you will most likely spend additional time (and money) on grooming and personal appearance. There could be such additional expenses as tolls, parking fees, and snacks or meals.

And then, how much of that €10 will you get to keep after you pay taxes and possibly insurance, union dues, and other fees? Also remember that the 40 hours a week or more you spend on the job, plus five or more hours commuting, will be time you won’t be able to spend on anything else. . . even washing dishes! Besides, you’ll probably be too beat to do much of anything besides the bare essentials after work. If you would have used that time to save money by gardening, canning, and cooking from scratch, add those lost savings to the cost of the dishwasher.

With these numbers, you would have to save a lot of dishwashing time to pay for the appliance. The numbers could be better, with a higher paying job and lower costs. But for many of us, they’re more likely to be much worse. And not many people get a job just to pay for a single appliance! After they get the job, they’ll probably want a television set, microwave, computer, telephones and much much more. Then, the more stuff involved, the greater the need to work, the less time you have at home, which creates even more demand for “time-saving” appliances. . . which increases the need for still more work. . .

That’s what’s called the rat race!

Yes, certain tools can save time and labor, and improve the quality of life, sometimes. But certainly not all of them, all of the time. Putting an actual value on your work and time isn’t easy, but it can be well worth the time spent doing it.

Work hard, but also work smart! The smart one gets smarter, while the other learns very little from his mistakes. One prospers, while the other struggles. Look around you. Which one are you? And if you don’t like what you see, what are you going to do about it?

Be happy! – It’s really you

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