Time Limited

By Jonathan Clements of Humble Dollar

OUR MOST PRECIOUS resource is time. I’m determined to waste as little as possible.

Unless we’re at death’s door, none of us knows how much time we have, but we all know it’s limited. Yes, money is also limited—but, if we squander money, there’s always a chance we can make it back. Time lost, by contrast, is gone forever.

My preoccupation with time and its dwindling supply has grown as I’ve grown older. I may be patient with my investments, but I’m not patient with much else. After 58 years of trial and error, I know how I want to spend my days—and what miseries I want to avoid. That’s led me to adopt nine strategies:

1. Fix problems quickly. Faced with a distasteful task, I’m often tempted to put it off until next week or next month. This is foolish. The distasteful task—calling customer service, dealing with my tax return, cleaning out the basement—is going to cost me time, but now I’ve compounded that loss by spending unnecessary days contemplating the need to do it.

I’ve tried to break myself of this habit, with mixed results. What if I can’t handle a distasteful task right away? I’ll add it to my to-do list. If I do that, I find I don’t think about the task quite so much, plus writing it down removes some of the problem’s perceived burden, perhaps because I feel like I’m one step closer to getting it done.

2. Don’t stop halfway. This is another bad habit. I’ll often….. Read more