Don’t Waste My Time!

“Just as theft of money is theft, so is theft of time.”

                        (Mesillat Yesharim, ch. 11)

Yesterday, I was cranky.  I’m not usually that way.  But by morning’s end, I was in a sour frame of mind.  Frustration, kvetching, it was all there.  My wife thought it was funny.  She doesn’t get jalapeno from me often.


We went some place expecting one thing and got another.  As we get older, we’re a lot more sensitive to having our time wasted by others.  We wasted our time, an hour and a half gone.

Employers are well-aware of how much time is wasted in office and factory.  Web surfing, prolonged breaks and lunches, endless chatter around the water cooler.  There are stats on the web that give big estimates of time loss.  They’re not flattering.

Time is that limited commodity that cannot be replaced.  Our time is finite.  We all die.  If someone takes my money, it can be replaced.  But that lost ninety minutes yesterday is gone for good.

For reflection:

  • Do you chatter on endlessly either not answering when you’ve been questioned or filling the air with needless details? You’re wasting someone else’s time and energy.
  • Are you fully engaged in the tasks at hand or do you dilly-dally around in a half-hearted way, not giving your best effort and focused attention?
  • Can you challenge yourself going forward to answer questions simply and directly?
  • Are you able to refrain from giving unsolicited advice or when asked advice, padding it with lots of verbal filler?

In business, those who can sum up and not waste the boss’s time and energy will find favor much faster than those who spend precious minutes in needless circumlocutions.

Point of this post is not finger pointing.  I have been lousy at stewarding the time and energy of others.  I’m looking to change things up.  Time cannot be replaced.

Care to join?


Suggested Resources:

15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs (Kevin Kruse)

Time Management Hacks: 10 Ways to Do More With Less, Change Your Daily Habits, Increase Productivity and Accomplish More (Thomas Westover)


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The Chosen

“A book is sent out into the world, and there is no way of fully anticipating the responses it will elicit. Consider the responses called forth by the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare – let alone contemporary poetry or a modern novel.” (Chaim Potok)

When I first read Chaim Potok’s masterpiece, The Chosen, I was stunned by his understanding of the human condition.  Potok, trained in Rabbinic Judaism, exhibits a deep knowledge of human beings, their idiosyncrasies, foibles and strengths.

The Chosen is the story of two teenage Jewish boys growing up in World War II Brooklyn.  Reuven, the protagonist, is the bright son of a noted Conservative Jewish scholar named David Malter.  Reuven’s friend is a genius—Danny Saunders, the son of a celebrated Hasidic rebbe and heir to his father’s Hasidic dynasty.

Danny is beyond brilliant.   A modern incarnation of the Vilna Gaon.  He has an eidetic memory but is bored with Talmud study which he knows cold.  He wants to be a psychologist, something distinctly verboten to a Hasid.  He loathes the idea of becoming his father.  His appetite for learning is voracious, something with which I completely identify.

Through a series of fortuitous events, Reuven and Danny become an unlikely pair of best friends, though from two distinctly different expressions of Judaism.

The story tells the joys and woes of growing in friendship during a tumultuous time in both our American history as well as that of Jewish history.  The founding of the State of Israel—a particularly volatile issue for Danny’s father—looms large in the story.

Read this book.  Keep Kleenex close by.  You will not only come away with a deeper understanding of Judaism and the Second World War, you will have your heart changed and graced.  It is a triumph of literature.

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