Monday, September 12, 2016

categories of time allocation

Here are some excerpts from Time for Success that will help with your TIP:

When you go to work or school, you agree to allocate a specific amount of time to activities determined by your involvement with an organization.  In return, the organization to which you allocate your time agrees to compensate you with a specific amount of money.

In making this exchange, you place a dollar amount on the time you sell to your employer (or client).  Selling time activities are those which generate benefits recognized in the marketplace; the currency of selling time includes money, grades, professional development, and prestige.

Working is a clear illustration of selling time.  However, we engage in many "selling time" activities without even thinking about it.  If an executive goes to the dentist, and picks up a business magazine because he sees an article about his company's main competitor, is he selling time?  You bet.

Because an activity is defined by the benefit it provides, selling time is not limited to work.  Attending school, studying, and reading trade publications are all examples of selling time.  Even reading the newspaper or watching TV can be examples of selling time, if they help us make money, get grades, or advance our professional development.

This category of time use involves creating and maintaining relationships with other people.  Human beings are social animals, and we depend on interaction with others for our emotional and social well-being.

Giving time refers specifically to the activities that create and enhance your personal relationships: friends, family, loved ones.

Many people believe they are giving time when they're working.  However, when they are asked in confidence, many coworkers confess that they would not socialize with each other if they didn't work together.

The times when you interact with family and friends create warm feelings of affection, belonging, and love.  Our need for these feelings is intense, and yet we often find it difficult to reserve time for these activities.  When I was young, I wondered why my grandmother ran around with the camera at family events.  Now I know she was trying to capture the feelings of those all-too-rare moments.

Advertisers understand this dynamic, and they try to convince us that our giving time needs can be met through buying things.  We are bombarded with information on products that will supposedly enable us to create and sustain relationships.  But there is no over-the-counter solution.  As the saying goes, if you want to dance you have to pay the band.  And, if you want communicative, loving, honest relationships, you have to invest time in them.

Activities that yield social benefits include conversations, writing (in any channel), or sharing memorable events.  On a broader scale, you can also give time through volunteering and community participation.

When we sell or give time, we focus our attention outward, toward the marketplace or other people.  Spending time addresses our individual, internal needs.  We spend time on things we love, things we do for free when no one is watching, things that make us better people.

Spending time activities may include spirituality, hobbies, talents, or passions.  You can spend time through meditation, or prayer, gardening, exercise, woodworking, playing a musical instrument, scuba diving, painting, skiing, or thousands of other activities.

Spending time is as individual as the person who does the spending.  When he was alive, my Uncle Charles spent many hours with his stamp collection (*he was the world's leading authority on Maltese stamps).  He also composed music (that was played at Albert Hall in London) and he played the violin and piano-- when he wasn't treating patients in his dental practice.  He proficient in these and other areas of his life, but it was really the stamps that brought him joy.  He would spend hours poring over auction catalogs.  Why?  Not for the money.  Not for the company.  Uncle Charles collected and curated stamps simply because it fascinated him.

Passing time is a misnomer.  We do not pass time.  True, there are times when we choose not to do something active, but that is when time passes us.

In terms of achieving our goals, passing time helps us indirectly.  We need the opportunity to rest and recover, so that we can approach our next activities with renewed energy.  The value of rest is evident throughout history, as in the concept of the Sabbath.

Selling, giving, and spending time all have directed purposes.  Passing time activities are designed to distract us from the concerns and pressures of the real world.  Entertainment products such as TV shows and movies typically relieve us of the need to think, worry, or actually do anything. (NOTE: video games can fall into this category, but often they exercise more of our brains than we think, and so may be more accurately categorized as spending, giving, or even selling time activities.)

Goal-oriented people typically pass time only for the purposes of getting relief or recharging their batteries, perhaps at the end of the day or during the weekend.  It is worth noting that people who have a keen sense of the future do not pass much time.  Our awareness of the consequences of our actions, and of time's rapid progress, compels us to achieve our goals (or feel stress if we are unable to take action).

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