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Finding yourself time poor while trying to get ahead?

By Peter Tapsell - posted Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Trying to get ahead but finding yourself time-poor? Then perhaps you are spending too much time with modern jargon and suffering from negative growth!

Every new generation of kids and teenagers comes up with words and phrases that are new and confuse older generations, however, it is now the adults that are coming up with new stuff. The trouble is that this new jargon often doesn’t make sense, even though it infiltrates modern language. I have three examples of this. Two are really nothing more than excuses for begin miserable and trying to paint oneself as a martyr and the third is meaningless but, recently, is often used.


What does time-poor mean? Has there ever been a more annoying phrase? How has anybody got any less time in the day than anyone else? Don’t we all have the same number of minutes and hours in each day?


Yes, as you may have gathered, this is a phrase that really strikes me as inane. If there is not enough time in the day it probably means that you are trying to do too much. Most of us have a lot of choice about how much we try to fit in. So, if you are finding that there are not enough hours in the day, perhaps you need to slow down a little bit and take some time to smell the roses.

Ultimately it’s your choice how much you take on, irrespective of whether you feel you have to or not. Learn to say no, or at least put aside time for yourself (and don’t compromise on this one!). There will always be jobs that appear to be, or at least we perceive to be, urgent and it is so easy to get caught up in the rush to achieve for achievement’s sake rather than for any worthwhile outcome.

Perhaps we need to slow down and accept that there are things we have to let go. Everything is not urgent, no matter what we may think. Opportunities come and go, but the chances are that more opportunities will come along. We don’t have to fight every battle that comes our way either; the confidence to let an issue go frees up time we can use for our own enjoyment. We can be selective. Put simply, if you find you are struggling to fit everything into your day, don’t try to do so much!

And above all, don’t use the phrase time-poor, it sounds like the workaholic’s justification for not allowing time for themselves to enjoy life.

Getting ahead

Getting ahead of what? Exactly how will anyone know when they are “ahead”? Who will they be ahead of, and how? I hear this phrase so often and I still wonder what, or who, the users of this phrase are competing with.

The question arises - if you are ahead of someone, on your self-generated scale, surely there are probably people you are “behind”. And if you are “behind” people, can you possibly say that you are “ahead”? It makes my head hurt.


By all means set goals which you want to achieve, but to use the term getting ahead is tantamount to saying that you are somehow not up to scratch and struggling to keep up. It is a way of reinforcing that you are somehow inferior to others and cannot be good for self-esteem. Is that any sort of way to live a life? I expect a lot people trying to get ahead also use the term time-poor.

Negative growth

Sorry, this is just drivel. What is negative growth? Growth is an expansion of a substance of a network or some other “thing”. It cannot be negative. The phrase is contradictory. What people who use this word mean to say is something like, shrinkage, or contraction, and they usually mean this in relation to a business or the economy.

So when treasury or a business executive say this annoying phrase, they are doing everything they can not to mention other words, but this is pointless. Everyone knows what they mean if they utter this phrase - we’re going backwards.

This is symptomatic of our fear of a bad result, our fear of failure, of admitting that we might not have succeeded. It’s pathetic really. And it’s also very bad English; irritatingly bad English. So economists, executives and bureaucrats, please stop using this phrase.

I’m sure that more of these phrases will emerge as the years go by, and the sad thing is that all of us will find ourselves using them without a thought, as they slip unseen into our consciousness.

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About the Author

Peter Tapsell has worked in universities, the mining industry, and government. He has also carried out some private consultancy work, mostly in areas related to the environment. He enjoys writing prose, verse and music and performing his creations. Peter blogs at I'd rather be at the Beach but ...

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