There’s a saying that goes along the lines of “if you want something doing,
ask a busy person”. I remember when I first heard of this I thought it was terrible advice. How can it be better to ask a favour from someone who already has a huge pile of shit on their plate? Surely asking someone with a lot if Time on their hands would be far more productive.
But experience has show it to be true, people with seemingly less available Time always come up with the goods far sooner – and more efficiently – than those whose days are filled with twiddling thumbs. So how can this be
It seems to me that it all comes down to how Time is viewed by the individual. I don’t mean that I think some people see time in slow motion – maybe some do, I don’t know. What I’m referring to is the importance with which Time is viewed. Even further than that, as Time is a finite resource for all of us – though it continues ad infinitum, we each only get a minuscule slice of the Time pie – it comes down to how we prioritise how we spend our share.
Most people who, when you look at their diaries, aren’t busy, often think that they are. This seems to stem from a misplaced priority in how they spend their allotted Time. They are so used to having plenty of free Time to be taken up by personal pleasure – playing games, watching TV, reading books – that the luxury of “free Time” becomes an entitlement. When they say they don’t have time to help you move house on Saturday, what they really mean is that Saturday is when they watch Games of Thrones and they couldn’t possibly move that to Sunday because that’s their movie night.
Put a genuinely busy person in the same situation and – assuming they’re a Friend – they will most likely respond with a positive answer. They may have the same weekend plans, but because they are busy they recognise that “free Time” is a luxury and comes at the bottom of the priority list – particularly if the favour asked, e.g. moving house, has a time limit on it.
As a really simple example, take the scenario of a busy pub with only one guy on the Bar. He has a pile of glasses which need washing and a group of people waiting at the Bar. He wouldn’t turn to the customers and say “I don’t have the Time to serve you”, rather he prioritises what needs doing first – do I have enough clean glasses to serve these people, who was at the Bar first, etc.
When looked at in this way, Time is a good measure as to whether the guy you’re dealing with is what the What Men Do Guide refers to as either an Adult or a grown-up (see
the glossary for the definitions). A grown-up acts like the child who tells mother he can’t possibly do the washing up, as he has too
much homework to do. Meanwhile in the privacy of his bedroom, the runt is trying to complete GTA V.
An Adult knows that Time is precious and to be invested wisely. If that means using a little
to help a Friend or colleague, then so be it. These are the guys who tend to have the most flavour in their slice of the Time Pie.