More Than Money
Issue #27

Lifestyles of the Rich and Simple

Table of Contents

“Simplify Your Time”

"Whatever we place at the center of our lives will get the bulk of our care and attention. This is not esoteric teaching, but simple physics. If we love our children more than anything, they will get the best of our attention. If we love success, our career will get the majority of our time. If we love money, we will spend the greater portion of our care and worry on the accumulation of wealth.

"Recognizing this law, most spiritual traditions counsel us to be mindful of what we possess… Everything we invite into our lives requires a certain measure of time and attention--usually more than we think when we acquire it. So our days, especially our time "off," our evenings and weekends, end up being dedicated to keeping all our possessions in working order. The invitation to poverty [found in many spiritual traditions] is not an invitation to suffer deprivation, but rather to consider whether the things we have acquired are really serving us--or are we serving them?"

-- Wayne Muller, in his book, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight In Our Busy Lives, © 1999 by Wayne Muller, Random House, Inc., New York

Practical Steps

  • How many hours do you spend each week doing: paid employment, commuting, shopping, eating, cooking, housework, yard work, reading, volunteering, talking on the telephone, caring for children, sleeping, watching television, email and other computer work, recreation and leisure, socializing, personal care, family activities?
  • Consider keeping a time diary for a week. Record which of these activities you are engaged in for each 30-minute time slot in the day.
  • Now make a list of the number of hours you want to spend on each of these activities. How are the two lists different? Is your current time allocation in line with your basic values and priorities? Reflect on steps you might take to bring your daily activities into greater balance with the things you value.

- From the Center for a New American Dream,