In the Twilight Zone and Don't Know It

Steven Gaffney

There was an episode of the Twilight Zone, in which a man pays people for their time. They give him time in their life--their youth, in exchange for money.

Why am I bringing this up? After 14 years of conducting seminars, I have discovered that everyone gives away their time, without even knowing it. Before you might be tempted to stop and say, "Not me!" Please read further, because I am about to show you that every day, you have entered the Twilight Zone, but what's worse is there is no payoff. The good news is there are things you can immediately do about it. Let me explain.

First I want to ask you what may sound like a silly question, but it is an important question. "How much money would you sell a month of your life for?" $1000, $10,000, $100,000. Now how about 2 months of your life? 3 months? You might be saying, "Well, I wouldn't sell it for any amount of money." Although you may not realize it, you probably are giving up time but unlike the Twilight Zone, you are not getting anything for it. In other words, you are probably selling months off your life for FREE, yes for free and you are receiving zero benefit! And when you consider that we often complain that we don't have enough time and we wish we had more time, the thought of us giving away time is horrifying. What am I talking about?

People are giving away huge chunks of their precious time dealing with and avoiding the number one killer of time - issues. Interpersonal issues, personality conflicts, negative and bad relationships, they all suck the time away. And they eat up more time then we realize.

Before you say, "Not me! I don't waste THAT much time dealing with things like that." Think of a big issue you currently have--that employee who doesn't do the job they are supposed to do, that co-worker who is just such a pain to try to work with, that righteous, negative person that you try to avoid or work around, that family member who makes their problems everyone's problem. You know what I am talking about - Issues. Now that you are thinking about an issue, please answer these 3 key questions:

How much time (per week) do I spend dealing with, putting up with and/or working around this issue? How much time (per week) do I spend thinking about this issue? How much time (per week) is it taking me to do other things because I am so preoccupied with this issue?

Now total up the time you spend per week? Now that you have a grand total, please figure out what it will cost you for the year. To make it easier I have laid out an example for you. Let's say you came up with 5 hours per week. That translates to over a month of your life wasted dealing with this issue! 10 hours translates to over 2 months of your life wasted! My estimation is very conservative so if you do the math you will likely come up with an even higher figure. In other words it is probably a lot worse!

Now take the total amount time you are wasting per year putting up with, avoiding, working around these issues and go back to the beginning of this article and ask yourself, "What is a month of my time worth?" Don't forget to include the times that your issues kept you up late at night and you lost sleep. How much of your productivity time was lost? What opportunities have you missed? How is this getting in the way of you accomplishing what you want and spending the time with the people you really want to? How about other relationships that has been damaged or may be even ruined because of these issues? What other issues are brewing that if left alone could alter and impact your life and keep you from achieving your goals and dreams?

Why am I making this a potentially painful conversation? Because we often neglect or ignore issues thinking somehow that time will resolve them. After all, we all have heard the saying that time heals all wounds. But the horrifying and shocking truth is that most of the time; time deepens wounds and deepens problems! It wastes our precious time in our lives with zero benefit to us!

And remember, time is the one commodity we can never get back. Just think about the loved ones who have passed away and what they would have given to get extra time in their life. How about what we would have given to have more time with them!

Don't squander the time; don't give it up with zero benefit to you. Take a stand that your issues and problems get resolved. If someone says, "Just let it go" you reply, "Thanks. I can't. I choose to take a stand and get this resolved. I am not blaming anyone, I am just going to get this issue resolved."

Give a great gift to yourself and your love ones. Right now, take 5 minutes and brainstorm all the issues that are bothering you. Prioritize your top 5 and make a commitment to resolve them. Legally of course!

Steven Gaffney, President of Steven Gaffney Company
Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.


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