Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Five great time investments and five time wasters

Zen story - Wash your bowl
A monk told Joshu, "I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me."
Joshu asked, "Have you eaten your rice porridge?
The monk replied, "I have eaten."
Joshu said, "Then you had better wash your bowl."
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
I enjoy the artfully minimalist Zen koan story style.  (My son's middle name is Koan - he can thank his father when he's older that it isn't his first name)   From childhood, I also read and reread my parents' Sufi tales, which have a similar feel. 

This says to me:
  • What is the most important thing you need to do?  If you have done that, then what do you need to do to prepare for the next most important thing to do?  Repeat, for life!
For people in older cultures or just simpler ones, the answers mean life and death.
  1. You need to eat so you need to dig, or hunt, or preserve food for later
  2. You need to stay warm so you need to collect fuel
And so on.  But most of us who own computers with broadband connections are facing more choices and distractions from what we might honestly believe is the most important thing.

Rocks, Pebbles, Sand, Water 
One version of another great story (this time with a Western influence) about thoughtful time management of multiple tasks.
  • The lesson?  Unless you do your most important tasks first, your whole day can easily fill up with small and less important (or even counterproductive) activities.
Five things you will never regret spending time on

  1. Your family
  2. Your health - this includes improving your diet and your exercise and sleep habits and...
  3. Releasing unnecessary burdens (hint:  most of what you own are unnecessary burdens)
  4. Your education - never stop learning
  5. Your friends - remember, you chose each other and that must be cherished

Five time wasters

  1. 95% of online activity
  2. 99% of television
  3. Sweating the small stuff
  4. Organising things you don't need to keep
  5. Arguing with your loved ones
Can you get the big stuff in before the small stuff fills your day?

Other not-to-be missed reading on priorities:

    1 comment:

    1. Good advice! I'm about to eat my oatmeal with millet and wheat germ... and then wash about 50 bowls!