The Last Lecture #2 – Time must be explicitly managed, like money.

My students would sometimes roll their eyes at what they called “Pauschisms,” but I stand by them. Urging students not to invest time on irrelevant details, I’d tell them: “It doesn’t matter how well you polish the underside of the banister.”

– Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Ok, so I was planning on writing this blog post three days ago but I got involved in trying to finish a paper for my class that was due on Saturday, going to the movies with friends, going to class, finishing my taxes, going to a prayer meeting in Boston, church service, fighting with my computer, etc. Now that I got that out of my system, on with my post!

So when I first read chapter 23, I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me…, in Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture, I wasn’t expecting it to be a lesson in time management. The quote above was actually what he had written under the heading of Time must be explicitly managed, like money.

His Pauschism didn’t make too much sense to me at first either. My first thought, after realizing this chapter was on time management, was, “What does polishing a banister have to do with time management?” After reading it a couple more times, I realized he was trying to say that if you worry about the little stuff – like how shiny the underside of the banister looks when no one will notice – you will waste precious, valuable time. I seem to be the master of this lately.

One example: I have a major case of senioritis when it comes to my homework. I just can not seem to focus when it comes to my homework. I really haven’t had much homework to do for this course. Three papers. That’s all. And they aren’t that difficult either. So why procrastinate if they are so easy? I wish I could tell you. I cold probably pull a few dozen Scripture from Proverbs on laziness and procrastination but I’ll just give a few:

  • Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseers or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. – Proverbs 6:6-8

I know this one is pretty harsh but it is something to think about. Ants live in colonies. They all have their own “job” to do and do it. No ifs, ands or buts. The ones that go out to get food find the food and bring it back for the colony. They don’t stop somewhere on they way to get the food or on the way home. They don’t get distracted. They stay on task. Something to think about.

  • Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth. – Proverbs 10:4

This also seems self explanatory. I’ll give you a visual though: Two men work in a factory doing the same job. Both are married with kids. One goes to work and does just what is expected of him. The other goes above and beyond his job. The man who does only what is expected stays in the same position until he retires. The man who diligently goes above and beyond what is expected of him excels and gets promoted as well as receives multiple raises for performance.

On, the definition of the word diligent is: “constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything.” For myself, I need to become diligent in managing my time better, even if that means I have to schedule my days until it becomes second nature.

  • Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid. – Proverbs 12:1

When most people think of discipline, they think of punishment. Yes, that is a definition of discipline but the use of discipline here is “training to act in accordance with rules; drill.” We all need to be trained to act in accordance with the rules of society and manners. For all the mom’s out there, I’m sure you all train (or at least, try to train) your children in manners and the polite way to handle themselves for when they are older.

Now, I’m not saying my parents didn’t but I wasn’t just influenced by my parents. Growing up, both of my parents had to work. My mom worked during the day but usually didn’t get home til around 5 or 6. We had babysitters. We went to public school. There were outside influences that I feel, unfortunately, made it difficult for me to become disciplined. These aren’t excuses and I’m hoping they don’t come across that way. These influences just made it easier for me to see all the diversions out there. I am paying for it now.

So, now I’m working on becoming more disciplined. Or, at least, trying to. This week I’ll be working on trying to modifying my morning routine so that I don’t run out of time. It shall be interesting….



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