Quantity vs. Quality

Quantity vs. Quality

Maine Time Collage

I think it’s easy to vilify certain areas of life that seem unimportant in the long run. It’s easy to make a black and white equation out of it: electronics = bad, people = good. And even though I just spent the past few posts lauding the credibility of time spent on adventures instead of time spent with laptops, I think keeping it that simple doesn’t do the real point of the matter any justice.

I think it’s the quality of the time we spend that counts.

Here’s why I think that’s true:

Will I arrive at the end of my life and wish I had spent more time on the computer?

Probably not.

Will I arrive at the end of my life and wish I had written more authentically, taken more risks, and used my gifts and abilities to their fullest extent?

The probability of that happening is much higher, and of much greater concern to me. And to a large extent, most of that – the writing, the risks, the creating – happens on a computer.

The computer isn’t the problem. The quality of the time spent on it is.

The same principle applies for time spent with people. I’ve lived at home with my parents for the past year. I’ve spent plenty of time with them. But have I really spent time with them or have I spent time merely around them? There, but not present, either working or thinking about something else?

I don’t think I’ll get to the end of this season at home and think that I didn’t get a high enough quantity of time with my parents. But there’s a fairly good chance I’ll look back and see a shortage of time spent actively engaged in quality time.

The amount of time isn’t the problem. The quality of the time spent is.

By and large, it’s not that I need to spend more or less time on any given thing, it’s that if something is worth spending time on, then it’s worth fully investing in. If I’m going to spend time on my computer, then I want it to be spent writing or creating something that matters. If I’m going to spend time working out, then I want it to be spent working as hard as I can, getting the most out of that workout. If I’m going to spend time recharging, then I want to actually recharge, and not be distracted by my phone or laptop or mental to-do list. If I’m going to spend time with my family, then I want to be all there, appreciating them and our time together fully.

In this busy overcommitted month, time feels like it’s been at a premium. There never seems to be “enough” of it. But I think what I’m really after is making the time I do have count.  In taking Rule 8 to heart. I want to view time as an investment and get the greatest return possible.

I do need less busy and more life. But I also need more quality investments in ways I chose to spend time.

How do you guys do with this? Do you have any favorite ways to manage time wisely?

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