Thursday, April 13, 2006

Where Did all the Time Go?

I remember picking up a relative from the airport. He was an older gentleman who came from the Netherlands to visit his Dutch relatives in the States. As we approached our farmhouse in Indiana he made a remark in Dutch to my father as he pointed to the rows of ripe corn on the fields at the side of the road. My father smiled and replied back to him. Later I found out the man was wondering why we were letting the crops ripen that late in the fields. You see, he came from a time when you went out and harvested with a scythe and piled the shocks together for hand shucking later. A time and manpower intensive process for so much corn, you had to start early and work very late during harvest time. My father smiled as he showed the elderly uncle the “modern” combine which did all that work for us at one hundredth of the time and labor.

Cooking over the fire is replaced by fire stoves, which are replaced by gas, and electric stoves, which are replaced by microwaves, which are now replaced by self-heating meals, replace cooking over the fire. Counting fingers and toes is replaced by an abacus which is replaced by an adding machine which is replaced by a calculator which is replaced by a room computer which is replaced by a desktop computer which is replaced by a portable computer which is replaced by a laptop which is replaced by a palm computer which will be replaced by a watch computer. And so it goes… All of these new inventions save us labor and time.

But where is that extra time? I don’t know about you but I don’t seem to have any more of it available. I’ll tell you where it is … it has been lost in something called the Parkinson’s Principle. The Parkinson’s Principle states, “Any job expands to the time allotted to it.” This Principle is why we always waited to do a month long homework assignment until the night before. The time we save we immediately fill. We save more time and then fill it with something else – it is our nature and it is good and bad. Good because our nature drives us to work and achieve and create. Bad because our nature becomes selfish and money centered with the obvious issues that come from that.

So the question is NOT “Where did all the time go?” but it is: “What did I do with my time?” Take a look at your week and compare the amount of time you spend making money and position to the amount of time you spend making family and friends. Put the Parkinson’s Principle to work for you and expand the amount of time you spend with your loved ones this week.

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