You can tell a question is very, very old when it’s based on the idea of mailing a letter. Bear with me, though, because this quiz from the Pleistocene Epoch has an important lesson that you don’t want to miss. (Okay, I don’t want you to miss it, but why quibble?)
As this quiz begins, you want to mail a letter. The closest post office is a mile away and you drive there at 30 miles per hour. How fast do you have to drive back in order to average 60 miles per hour?
Don’t bother grabbing your calculator, because I’ll give you the answer: You can’t do it. If you drove to the post office at 30 miles an hour, you used up two minutes. And if you wanted to average 60 miles an hour for the whole trip, you would need two minutes. By the time you get there, you’re already too late.
Life is like that. Whether we’re saving for retirement, planning a business strategy or leaving the house to meet friends, the clock is ticking. Too often, we start on a journey that we cannot finish, relying on hope or kismet or time travel for our ultimate success. That means we’re just wasting our time on a project that’s doomed to failure, when we could be investing our energies in a more promising direction.
Frequently, when I’m working with a start-up company, the management team will dismiss the limits of time, but that can be a fatal error. One company I advised had adopted a strategy that wouldn’t pay off until several quarters after they ran out of money, which meant it wouldn’t pay off at all. In another case, the business founder had started so many initiatives that she needed a 27-hour day to get the job done, but only if she didn’t eat, sleep or shower.
We make the same mistake in our personal lives. We don’t start saving for retirement until we need to save 120% of our income to make it work. We plan to travel the world someday, but wait until we lack the stamina to make the journey. We start a hundred hobbies, but we never block out enough time to master any of them.
And let’s not forget the little matter of relationships. So often, we are caught up in something that’s toxic, a situation that cannot be fixed without investing more time and energy than we will ever have…if it can be fixed at all. Still, somehow, we pursue a goal we will never achieve, draining our lives of more productive and enjoyable endeavors.
Nobody makes their final departure with a clean desk. In fact, nobody should make that kind of exit, because a healthy mess and a large to-do list can be indicators of a life well lived. Still, it’s much better to leave a long to-do list of items we enjoy, not a queue of boulders we’re damned to roll up the hill.
Time is the original scarce resource, but we treat it like a bottomless pool. The only way to make more of it, at least in practice, is to cut the non-starters and the never-wills from our to-do lists. Today might be a good day to start.
How many impossible tasks can you remove from your to-do list, now that you know the secrets to time management? And how much time have you freed up to subscribe to our weekly posts by clicking here? Oodles. Win win.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.