How to Get Things Done | Motivational Podcasts

Podcast Transcript: Welcome to the Inspirational Living podcast, brought to you in part by Book of Zen, makers of wearable inspiration for a better world. Today’s podcast has been edited and adapted from Essays on the Meaning of Life by Carl Hilty, published in 1903.

“I HAVE no time,” that is not only the most familiar and convenient excuse for not doing something; it is also, one must confess, the excuse which has in it the greatest appearance of truth. Is it a good excuse? I must admit that within certain limits the excuse is reasonable. But I shall try to show how it is that this lack of time occurs, and how one may, at least in some degree, find the time you need.

The most immediate reason for lack of time is to be found in the character of the present age. There is today a prevailing restlessness, and a continuous mood of excitement, from which, unless one makes themselves a hermit, one cannot wholly escape.

We say that time is money, yet people who have plenty of money seem to have no time. Thus the modern world seems pitiless in its exhortation to work. Human beings are driven like horses until they drop. Many lives are ruined by the pace, but there are always more lives ready like horses to be driven. Yet the results of this restless haste are generally not convincing.

There have been periods in history when people (without the restlessness and fatigue that now prevail), accomplished far more in many forms of human activity than people achieve today. Where are we now to find the scholars whose works fill thousands of volumes, or the artists like Michelangelo and Raphael, who could be at once painters, architects, sculptors and poets?

The nervous haste of our day cannot be wholly explained by assuming that modern men and women do more work, or better work, than their predecessors. It must be possible to live, if not without perfect rest, still without haste, and yet accomplish something worthwhile.

The first condition of escape from this ineffective haste is, beyond doubt, the resolution not to be swept away by the prevailing current of the age, as though one had no will of your own. On the contrary, one must oppose this current and determine to live as a free citizen, and not as a slave of either work or pleasure.

Our present system of the organization of labor makes this resolution far from easy. Indeed, our whole manner of thinking about money-making, and our capitalist system in general, increases the difficulty. So long as there are people, and especially educated people, who work only when they are forced to work and for no other purpose than to free themselves as soon as possible from the burden of work, so long will there be many people who have too little time, simply because a few have too much.

This however is a grand problem that requires radical solutions, which must be left to the future. The only practical problem for our own age is to maintain a sort of defensive attitude toward our lack of time, and to seek less radical ways of fortifying ourselves. Let me enumerate some of these ways.

First, the best way of all to save time is to have the habit of regular work, not to work by fits and starts, but in definite hours of the day. Regular work, especially as one grows older, is the best preservative of both physical and intellectual health (as well as of beauty). Idleness is infinitely more wearisome than work, and induces also much more nervousness; for it weakens that power of resistance which is the foundation of health…..

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