The Value of Time


One of the thoughts brewing in recent months, particularly because of my writing exercise, is the value of time.

I know, I know, it’s old hat, a cliché even, that time is our most precious resource. Except, it’s true. Nothing’s driven that home more than:

  • getting older
  • realizing my time left is finite
  • thinking and writing about that

All this is leading me to be significantly more aware of where and how I spend my time.

Or, rather, where and how I choose to spend my time.

That it’s a choice is, perhaps, the most important point.

I’m about to go on a trip overseas. In years past, this might well have included obligations: seeing things I’m “supposed” to see, and meeting people I’m “supposed” to meet. Most commonly, the latter is associated with family, but it’s certainly not limited to that.

This might sound brutal, but life’s too short.

More completely, life’s too short to take on obligations that might not really be obligations at all. Guilt is a poor motivator for deciding how to allocate your time.

My trip has almost no agenda. Show up and be.

I have one priority: one couple I want to see and spend time with. (Perhaps more time than they might want, but we can play that by ear.)

Outside of that, my agenda is wide open.

But I do have priorities regarding how I want to spend my time. There will be sight-seeing — some on my own, some with the folks I’m visiting. There will be sitting around and talking; catching up and, of course, ruminations on current world events.

But there will also be “just being”.

When I left Microsoft, a colleague told me, “don’t underestimate the value of puttering.”

One thing life has taught me so far is that one should also not undervalue just being. Enjoy the moment, whatever the moment brings.

So, if you’re someone I might miss on this trip, I apologize … but not really. I simply hope you’ll understand that it’s not that you don’t mean something to me — you do. Definitely.

It’s just me trying to be very intentional about how I spend my time.

It’s my most valuable asset.

2 thoughts on “The Value of Time”

  1. Leo, I think you will surely enjoy your travels more if you “putter”. I’ve been retired a number of years. I learned to play Bridge and am loving the game and the people I meet – in person and in on-line games. I exercise daily through Silver Sneakers on-line and am staying relatively in shape. My favorite activity is being with my five granddaughters: two 6-year olds, and three 4-year olds (two who are twins).

    All those things make me sound busier than I am. None of them are commitments so I am able to roll over and go back to sleep or take a day off. All of it is purely for a fun way to pass time.

    Your posts are making me nervous that you are preparing us for you to retire “Ask Leo”. Say it ain’t so!

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