The Illusion of Time: 10% Peace of Mind

“If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”


I often hear people complaining about their too busy schedule and exhausting work they have to do everyday. I’m sure every of us living in a big city like New York, Tokyo, London, and my city, Jakarta have heard people saying things like:

“I wish I had 48 hours a day”

“Oh no, I don’t have time to deal with this”

“I might as well work all night long”

“I wish I had the time to practice my hobby”

“If only my children could grow up faster”

“I’m too busy these day, I never have time for myself”

They seems exhausted by the things they did today and they have to do next, most of them would rush from one task to another, thinking if they could rest after they finished it all. Sadly, it rarely does. Another project coming up, another task to do, children to nurture, and countless “things to do next” lining up on our notebook. It would be a mistake to think that if they fasten working tempo, they would save more time to do things they love.

The essence of my post is not to teach how to be more productive, efficient, and effective (although I’m competent to teach about it) but I’m trying to enlightened my readers to have a paradigm about time and tasks. Time is limited, we were given only twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, and fifty two weeks a year. And only God knows how many years we have left. We couldn’t change the amount of time we had daily, but we do have the freedom to choose tasks we do. We could say “no” to tasks we have no interest in doing, cut the amount of “doing random things that leads nowhere”, and prioritizing our activities.

“Things to do” list on my notebook never goes empty, for every task I finished and crossed from the list, I would write another task shortly. Not because I didn’t write the new task there earlier on purpose, but because it just came to my attention at the time. It became a pain for me earlier, as a human being trying to enhance quality of my life at many different aspect, I always had a project in mind. Although those project are contributing to my long-term happiness and meaning in life, sometimes I would feel bad for not finishing it at the time table I made earlier.

One true phrase I’m quoting today is:

If it is important to you, you will find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse”

It all roots in priority we have, when we say that our family is our priority, we would make time for them no matter what. Yes, a man may need to work to give a decent living condition for his family, but leaving a legacy to his children is more important than trying to strive for the next promotion. Even if people are given 48 hours a day, we would still complain we have more. The man problem is not in having a limited time but rather in having priority in life.

Just like a car needs gas to run, we need to have time for nurturing our well-being. We need to reflect on life and what we want out of it, to make sure we won’t regret our priority in our death bed. And what about doing all the things my Boss ask me to do? Well, I would answer it this way, “If you submit it all today, what is the probability of your Boss giving you a one month holiday instead of giving you another pile of task?” I think what we can do about it is to do it the best we can, in the time we have allotted for it, and stop trying to rush finishing it all.


About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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9 Responses to The Illusion of Time: 10% Peace of Mind

  1. Pingback: Daily Prompt: Avant Garde | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice

  2. howellb1 says:

    It’s an often overlooked truth that everyone on this planet – from the Prime Minister and the President to the taxi driver and the garbage collector – wakes up with the same number of minutes to work with every single day. Time is the great equalizer, and it’s up to every individual to choose how they want or need to spend it. Our happiness depends on it.

    This was a thoughtful post, I enjoyed reading it! Thanks!

  3. EeveeD says:

    Probably out of no where, but do you read Terry Pratchett by any chance?

    • agent909 says:

      No, haven’t heard about him befote. I searched his name though, and he seems to be a bestseller novel writer and a noble man in UK. What might make you brought it up, if I may ask? Interesting man for sure.

      • EeveeD says:

        If you ever get the chance to read his books, you should definitely read The Night’s Watch or Thud! You’d definitely like the main character Sam Vimes. The reason this post made me think of it is in the books Sam will do anything (literally anything) so he doesn’t miss reading to his son at 6pm. When someone asks him why Sam says: “Once you had a good excuse, you opened the door to bad excuses.” It seemed a lot like you were saying, so I was wondering if you had read the books too.

      • agent909 says:

        I see, I added your suggestion “The Night Watch” to my reading list next month. It’s such a coincidence that you brought the theme up. Thank you for the suggestion, I do need a fiction book suggestion to balance my reading.


      • EeveeD says:

        If you’re just reading it as a stand alone book I’d suggest “Thud!” instead, as “The Night Watch” is part of the main series. “Thud!” you can read as a stand alone book and not lose too much.

      • agent909 says:

        Sure, thank you for the suggestion. I might as well read the whole discworld novel if I like reading “Thud”. I grew up with Harry Potter, Star Wars, and LOTR, so I think I’ll like the series. Nice to know you!

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