Spending Time or Wasting Time

Note to self: Stop Wasting Time – photo by D. Hennessey

Yesterday I picked up again one of my favourite books by Joe Hyams called Zen in the Martial Arts. Joe’s book contains short concise chapters on ideas that can help both martial artists and non-martial artists live their lives more effectively and on purpose.

Yesterday I read from a conversation the author had with Bruce Lee – the renowned martial artist – on the topic of time management. They were chatting with another friend Stirling on the difference between spending time and wasting time.

Bruce said “To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner”. Bruce went on to say “We are spending it during lessons just as we are spending it now in conversation. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to either spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.”

Powerful words indeed, we all have a limited amount of time and how much we will never know. Today I am going to pay even closer attention to whether I am wasting my time or spending it wisely.

Two Steps I have taken:


Unless I am expecting an urgent phone call or email, I will only check messages when I am finished a task I really want to spend time doing.


I have created a note to myself on several ‘stick ups’: *** use time wisely **** – I put these ‘stick ups’ in places around me where they will remind me till I burn in the habit of only spending time and not wasting it. Simple, effective.

Your friend on the journey,


By the way, here is a convenient link to information and reviews on Joe’s book Zen in the Martial Arts. It is one of the books on my all time favorites reading list.

Below are more articles on Time Management

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What is the Best Time to Review a To Do List

Avoid Driving in Circles

Focus and Productivity