time thieves

Post photo: timepiece | © Mystic Art Design from Pixabay 

I have often dealt with the concept of time and also here on this weblog, outside of my job mostly in a literary or philosophical way. I would like to refer to my blog post "over time” from 2011.

Since I will soon be dealing with appointment and time management again in more detail, it is time to take a more technical approach to this topic. The whole thing will certainly become a little more plausible for the reader if I emphasize the concept of time a little more clearly, because we are actually always talking about our own lifetime. And it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone if I announce that this is very limited, especially if you put our lifetime in relation to our environment. We assume that the universe is almost 14 billion years old. Broken down to a human instant that doesn't last a second, a number that even the best mathematicians can no longer comprehend.

With a lot of luck, our own lifetime should be around 80 years. Thirty-two years are roughly one billion seconds, so we have to assume that even in the best case scenario, we have little more than three billion seconds at our disposal. In my very personal case, almost two billion seconds of that are already in the past — and thus irretrievably lost. On average, a modern person lives 32 billion seconds and so even with a lot of luck I probably don't have 2,5 million seconds left.

Happy is the person who can claim to have enjoyed the majority of his seconds to the fullest. And that actually sums it up, because it all depends on what you do with your own seconds and what you ultimately did with them. And so it is possible that a person has lived far more, better and happier in fewer years than another, who in the end has to look back on three billion seconds of boredom!

And that inevitably leads us to the greatest crime of mankind, the theft of time!

This is commonly referred to as murder in its most brutal form, when one person simply robs another of their remaining time. The killer is simply a time thief. After that, however, there are those time thieves who do not ultimately take other people's time, but ensure that they cannot use their time "sensibly". In the end, however, it boils down to the same thing for the people affected!

There is no question that everyone is free to use or even waste their approximately 2,5 billion seconds as they wish. It probably also remains a mystery, if not the biggest one, as to why those people who don't know what to do with their own seconds feel the great urge to want to live forever.

And this brings us to our own time management, and as soon as I communicate with other people - in whatever form - to appointment management. And to make it even clearer, time is the only finite resource (some say along with intelligence) that, moreover, is constantly and irreversibly slipping between our fingers!

To get to the point: appointments are "sacred"! Their time-fixing law! Ergo, all deadlines, whether start or end dates, must be adhered to as a matter of principle. Date changes must be an exception. You always have to keep in mind that when you make an appointment, another person "sacrifices" their own — irretrievable (!) — seconds for themselves or for a common cause.

And these "sacrifices" must necessarily, even necessarily, represent a gain for both sides! Just "it's good that we talked about it once" or "next time we'll do it right" are guiding principles of time thieves.

Appointments are therefore one of the most important “tools” that we humans have at our disposal. This perhaps also explains the great popularity of calendars and all other related means of organization among people who at least try to get the most out of their seconds.

And with that, it's quite obvious that you just don't keep other people waiting! Unless you're a time thief! And unfortunately there is much more of it than our society can handle.

And the whole thing is also - similar to mass murder - further professionalized and celebrated. Examples can be the unpunctuality of rail traffic in Germany or the inability of our "experts" to organize road traffic in such a way that billions of seconds are not wasted by countless other people in an absolutely useless and irreversible way in traffic jams.

Professional appointment and time management is an absolute must for each individual as well as for society as a whole, so that as many of us as possible have the chance to spend happy, meaningful seconds.

"Wherever human activities are carried out in an organized and cooperative form, there management must be found."

Lyndall F. Urwick & Edward FL Brech, Urwick and Brech's Making of Scientific Management (2002 [1949])
  • True words. Unfortunately, even more ubiquitously than shown above, no corner of our society remains unaffected.