Opinion | Respect time: It’s more valuable than money

By Mark Toledano, Columnist

I love volunteers. Any student organization needs them to be successful. But when I was called out last weekend to assist a club, disappointment was waiting for me. There was no work for the 15 of us volunteers to do. None. Zip. 

“Always better to have too many volunteers than too few,” one of the leaders quipped. Is it really, though? Too many cooks can crowd a kitchen. Why was this any different? 

Let’s ignore the ill-preparedness for a moment. Clearly, more thought should have been put into how much work actually needed to get done. 

People work more efficiently when they don’t have the illusion of additional help surrounding them. They aren’t distracted by onlookers searching for tasks to do. Those with tasks don’t have to find work for those that don’t. Instead, more time can be directed to the job at hand. That’s how fewer people can accomplish more. It’s about the quality of work, not the quantity of workers.

Overcrowding affects everyone, not just the extras. Productivity and morale are lowered if members of the group can sense things aren’t running smoothly.

My monthly dues to that club make up a negligible fraction of my total budget. I don’t even think twice before I fork over the couple bucks. But imagine what you would do if you were given an extra day to do whatever you need to square away in your life.

I would get ahead in my studies, maybe go to the gym or catch up on sleep. I sure wouldn’t spend it standing around looking for work and twiddling my thumbs. 

Not every moment of life is pleasurable. If you spend eight hours a day sleeping, and another eight hours working, that’s 16 hours out of 24 in a day. That only leaves a third of your day left for leisure. If you extrapolate that ratio to a lifespan of 99 years, that rounds out to only 33 years left over for yourself.

We’re all trying to get to a better place. To do that, we need to give up some of our precious time in exchange for self-betterment. Time is the currency of hardworking people. When you are mindful of others’ time, you are empowering them to reach that better version of themselves. 

Time is money, the old saying goes. Except, it isn’t. Time is infinitely more valuable than money. You could have money today and drop dead tomorrow. But time can make you money. It can also cure sickness, reunite loved ones and heal a broken soul. It’s the scarcest resource of all. 

So, find those tasks you need to bury today. Seek out the right amount of help, knock it out, then move on to the next one. There’s no time to lose.

Mark is a junior in ACES.

[email protected]