The Management of Lost Time

There is a quote that’s been around for a few months, or at least that’s when I first saw it pop up.  It says:


When you walk up to opportunity’s door, don’t knock… Kick it in, smile, and introduce yourself.
Dwayne Johnson


Many of us spend a lot of time saying, “I wish.”  I wish I wasn’t doing this job; I wish I was living somewhere warm; I wish I’d wake up in bed next to—oh, wait.  That last is just me.  Never mind.

Since I know a lot of writers, and writer-types, I also hear the following now and then:  “I wish I could finish this story.”  If you are a creative type, you know that manta well.  You wish you could finish a story, or a painting, or a drawing, or anything that involves taking something that can only be found in your imagination, and turning it into a living, breathing entity.

I’ve been in the situation where I wished I could finish something.  I did that with my first novel—not the one I wrote during NaNoWriMo 2011, I mean the first novel that I started way back in 1989, and worked on now and then for the next fifteen years.  It wasn’t until the banner year of 2012 (hereafter known as The Year of Apocalypse Not) that I finally got my shit together, pulled up that long festering document, and got down to the business of finishing the sucker.  Took forty-five thousand words to do so, but I did finish it.

My days of saying “I wish” were over.

I know a lot of people who say they’re bad at time management, that they have a hard time working with the time allowed them day to day.  But that’s a bit of a misnomer, because time isn’t there to be managed.  It’s far too wibbly wobbly for that.  No, time is there to be used—or to be wasted.

None of us are Time Lords or Ladies; none of us have some relative dimension in space device that we can jump into when we need to go back and redo something that was should have done, but couldn’t get around to at that particular moment.  We’re all living through our own Blinovitch Limitation Effect, and we have to deal with it as there isn’t a better option available at any price.

You don’t manage the time you have coming, because there isn’t any time coming.  You can’t tell what’s going to happen next; even before I finish typing this line, I could have a stroke . . . well, I finished, so that didn’t happen.  But I have no idea what will happen in the next couple of hours, or days, or months, so I have to make do with time as is currently exists—

Else it becomes lost.

You lose time in this here and now, the Ticktockman isn’t coming after your ass, because he doesn’t exist.  No, that time is forever gone, never to return, and one will usually find in its wake a person going, “I wish I’d—“  Time gives not a shit about your wishes, however.  It keeps going beyond us to a country we’ve already visited, and can never visit again.  If you hadn’t managed that time before it slipped away, then those are moments forever lost, and no amount of wishing will ever make them return.

The only way to kick in opportunity’s door is to find your way there, because it doesn’t like to travel.  Getting there takes work, and it takes time—most of all time.  Manage that time you’re going to lose, otherwise you’ll out in front of Marion the Librarian’s house, thinking about all those empty yesterdays she’s piled up.

Make today worth remembering.  Go kick in that door.

Or at the very least, give it a good shoulder push.