article banner
From Where We Sit

It’s about time

Anton Ng

The average human life span is 617,580 hours which doesn’t seem much. Time is fleeting, as they say.

One day, your time will run out. You can neither keep it nor save it for later use. Despite being valuable and limited, we take time for granted.

About four months ago, I wrote on how a person should be mindful of their personal and fund growth. Simply planning for growth is never enough.

One must also invest resources to pursue growth activities. Together with money, time is important to our growth. We should reallocate time spent on non-essential activities to endeavors that boost our growth.

I was in Dumaguete over the long weekend to attend two business meetings. Due to scheduling constraints, I had to stay there for two nights.

With no travel time to contend to or family to spend time with, I suddenly had more disposable time.

I wasn’t prepared for that. I had a number of things to do but being able to actually do them is a totally different matter.


I was back in my hotel room after dinner while the sun was about to set. “I still have a lot of time,” I said to myself.

I believed I could work later. I thought in the meantime, I would browse the internet and see what’s happening elsewhere in the world.

Soon, it was already 9 pm. But there are more excuses for me to work later such as it was Sunday night; that I already worked that afternoon during the meeting; that I will work again tomorrow which is a holiday while being away from my family; that I was already sleepy; because I had to catch the early morning flight for home; and that I deserve to do nothing.

The next time I checked my watch, it was already midnight. I was still deeply engrossed with rummaging through the internet for whatever material I can read.

Soon, it was already 2 am. My next meeting was just seven hours away. To assuage my guilt, I started working.

With my fingers still on my laptop’s keyboard, I dozed off 15 minutes after I started working. I woke up at 5:30 am to finish the work.

There are a lot of things in this world that steal our time. There are solutions to prevent our time from being stolen. Some are more difficult than others.

Regardless of the circumstances, however, we can and must redeem time.

When in a long queue, we can redeem time by answering emails or calling somebody we need to speak with.

When caught in traffic, we can redeem time by listening to audiobooks or by thinking how we can do better at the office.

Redeeming time, however, isn’t easy. The lure of doing exactly the opposite is easier and simpler. Making excuses and spending time on whatever is more convenient are more attractive.

But why? Perhaps it has something to do with how we view time.

Time is not earned like money. Time isn’t given to you like an allowance or an inheritance. We do neither win it as a prize nor do we work for it.

Time isn’t accorded with the same level of respect and importance as compared to more tangible resource such as money.

It’s difficult to see the value of time, because we didn’t earn it. No effort was exerted to obtain it.

Finally, however, we should grant time its rightful value. Sooner or later, we should give time the respect it deserves.Time will not wait for you. Time will continue to run regardless of your readiness to act.

Money can wait for you, and it will idly sit by, waiting for your bidding. Money, you can control. Time, however, will not give you that privilege.

I don’t espouse becoming a machine and doing purely productive work every minute. Let’s do things within the amount of time given to us and based on our vision and goals.

Sleeping has its purpose. So does accepting the “two bots” invitation from a friend. There’s a reason for spending four hours a day in Metro Manila. So does looking mindlessly into the abyss.

Whatever our purpose is, whatever our goals for our growth are, may we make use of the limited time we have in pursuing them.

Growth, in every sense of it, requires time. I only have less than what was given to me. It’s about time I make full use of it.

Anton Ng is a Partner of the Audit & Assurance of P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading Audit, Tax, Advisory, and Outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 Partners and over 900 staff members. We’d like to hear from you! Tweet us: @PAGrantThornton, like us on Facebook: P&A Grant Thornton, and email your comments to or For more information, visit our Website:


As Published by The Manila Times dated 29 August 2018