How to escape time poverty and join the free.
By Brad Beckstrom
My oldest son came home a bit stressed out the other night. He recently started driving and has started to experience the chaos of rush hour traffic. I enjoy having everyone home for dinner and gave him a hard time about being late. I told him he needed to start managing his time better.
I sounded like one of my first bosses who used to say “We start at 8 Beckstrom, not 8:07 am or 8:11 am” or whatever the exact number of minutes I was late by was, as he tapped his Patek Philippe watch. At the time, I fixed the problem by planning to arrive at 7:45 AM. That worked for a while, until I realized putting on a suit and commuting to an office would not be my path.
Later, as an entrepreneur,I took time management to a whole new level, using day timers, Palm pilots, Treo phones (remember those?) I created multiple to do lists and scheduled my day to the minute, starting early and often finishing late. It was my turn to give people a hard time about being late. I was time poor.
The Time Poor from the book Vagabonding
“Sierra Club founder John Muir used to express amazement at the well-heeled travelers who would visit Yosemite only to rush away after a few hours of sightseeing. Muir called these folks the “time poor”- people so obsessed with their material wealth and social standing that they couldn’t spare the time to truly experience the splendor of California’s Sierra wilderness.”
120 years later, this hasn’t changed. Despite more people being fortunate enough to be able to travel, many, including myself often take only one week to see a place like Ireland or a day or two to see Rome as part of some whirlwind European trip. Staying in nice hotels, eating expensive meals but never really seeing a place. “Yep kids, look there’s big Ben Parliament.” Chevy Chase from European Family Vacation.
Many have chosen stuff and material wealth over time as a way of life. We tell ourselves we’ll take that long trip someday, spend more time with family, friends. Will take some time to get healthy again when things “slow down” a little or after we retire. Some of us fool ourselves into believing that by working harder we can buy ourselves some time, only to find out that managing more work and acquiring the finest, biggest stuff only makes us more time poor. Even the wealthiest billionaire cannot buy more time on this planet. In many cases, a high stress lifestyle will shorten your life versus lengthening it.
Bigger homes, bigger cars, bigger jobs, longer commutes only escalate time poverty. For years I was a victim of time poverty. In my 50 some odd years on this planet there are few things I wish I had picked up on a lot earlier. The good news is we’re fortunate enough in this century to fix the time poverty problem and it’s never too late to start.
So here are a few things I would’ve told my 25-year-old self.
Develop core principles and a philosophy of life. [Read more…] about The Time Poor.