Time Is Money

Provided by Troy Headrick from Thinker Boy: Blog & Art

*Troy Headrick is a thinker, writer, artist, educator, and adventurer who has lived in five countries.  He writes on a wide variety of subjects and has had work published in many print and online magazines, journals, newspapers, and blogs.  His autobiographical blog can be found at https://troyheadrick-thinkerboy.com/. He is working on several book projects. *

   I always arrive at work at 7:50 a.m.  That’s ten minutes before I have to officially unlock the writing center door—the one I manage—turn on the lights, and open up for business.

   This morning, at approximately 7:55, I made a quick trip to the men’s restroom.  Actually, I’m pretty lucky in that it’s located just a few feet away from our center.  (There’s a lot to be said for convenience.)  Anyway, when I stepped into the place, there was a man just finishing up his business at one of the urinals.  As soon as he zipped up and turned toward me, I noticed that he had a toothbrush sticking out of his mouth.  Seeing this prompted me to ask, “Multitasking are you?”  He found my question humorous.  I know this because he began to smile when I put it to him.  He then walked to the sink, spit a wad of froth from his mouth, and thoroughly washed his hands, face, and brush.

   This rather inconsequential encounter in the john got me thinking about how busy our lives are.  It was both a little humorous and a little sad that this fellow couldn’t focus on either peeing or brushing and found himself having to do them simultaneously.  I hope it doesn’t come to the point that we have to carry around little pocket-sized planners to schedule our bowel movements.

   Of course, I’m being facetious but not entirely.  Multitasking is all the vogue and those who are good multitaskers are viewed as having a skill that makes them more attractive on the job market.  We have to be careful, though, not to confuse being a good worker with being a good (and happy) human being.  A person may become more productive but also feel that such a “gain” comes with a loss.  To multitask is to fragment.  A person who is required to do many things at once cannot give full concentration to any one of those things.  Multitasking leads to a dilution of one’s human power.  Contrary to popular wisdom, the world does not need more multitaskers; it needs more people who are able to focus and concentrate on doing one thing exceptionally well.  We do not need more hacks and amateurs.  We need more masters.  Those who see multitasking as a virtue are really making the argument that quantity of work trumps quality of work.

   Multitasking is gaining value as a job skill because capitalist countries are hoping to make human beings more machine-like as a way of boosting productivity.  (After all, we won’t have to replace human workers with robots if we can turn humans into robots.)

   What capitalists don’t realize though is that a “jack of all trades” is a “master of none.”  Plus, mental health suffers when human beings are forced to be something other than human beings.

   Bottom line:  We must not allow ourselves to be dehumanized just because dehumanization is profitable.

12 thoughts on “Time Is Money

  1. Using the bathroom and brushing your teeth (in a public bathroom no less) is just unsanitary. I don’t think multi-tasking and quality work are necessarily mutually exclusive. They could be mutually exclusive depending upon the person and the workload in question, but I don’t think it’s always the case. However, I do see the point in asking humans to do more and more in professional settings can make us seem like robots.

  2. I think we have to think of multitasking in a larger context–that people are coming more under pressure to move quickly, to spread themselves too thin, to make decisions immediately rather than giving themselves time and room to ruminate. I’m old enough to remember when life felt slower, when a person had time to move at a human pace. People can be pushed only so far and so fast–in the name of maximizing productivity–before their mental and spiritual integrity begins to fail. A person who brushes his teeth while urinating is a perfect symbol of what happens when people have too much to do and too little time to do it–they behave ridiculously and irrationally and unhealthily.

    1. I don’t know if the multitasking the employers search is indeed the multitasking described. Yes, employer search for multitasking but I believe what they should search for is the ability to switch from concentrating to one thing to concentrating the another. It’s more likely an ability to quickly switch the focus instead of focusing on multiple things at once. In my opinion, these are two different things. I think I need to make a post about it lol :))

  3. I am not really good with multitasking. Whenever I attempt it I end up focusing more on one over the other. So I try to work faster – but one task at a time.

  4. I help people learn and hone their critical and creative thinking skills. I also do a lot of life coaching. I have found that those who live frantically and always try to do too much–often times doing many things at once–run the risk of losing their ability to prioritize. They see everything as being equally important. One of the greatest critical thinking skills of all is the ability to distinguish between those tasks which are more important and those that are less important. When a person loses the ability to make such distinctions, it is easily to feel overwhelmed and to make bad choices about how one allocates time. By the way, time is not money. Time is certainly precious though. It is more precious than money.

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