Spending Time Wisely

I wrote about Randy Pausch a week ago and I’ll be talking a little more about him today.

When he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he decided to make every minute count. For instance, when he was out buying groceries one day, he used the self-scan isle to save time (the line with an actual cashier was too long). He paid with his credit card but the machine didn’t issue a receipt. So he swiped his card again but then two receipts popped out. He was charged twice.

At this point, he had a crucial decision to make. Should he talk to the manager to get a refund and possibly have to fill out some form? Should he get in touch with his bank? Or should he just go home and spend his extremely limited time with his wife and kids? He chose to go home because he could afford to pay a grocery bill twice. He chose to go home because this would be one of the last times he would get to go home and spend time with his family.

Here’s another story about him, not about time management, but about how he dealt with a cop who pulled him over for speeding. In his book he said that was driving a few miles over the speed limit because he wasn’t paying attention, but perhaps subconsciously he was going faster to spend less time on the road and more time with his family.

He was in Virginia at the time of the incident, and his license was registered to his Pittsburgh address. The cop asked him what he was doing so far from home. Randy replied that he had just moved from Pittsburgh to Virginia and hadn’t had time to update his address. The cop then asked him why he moved. Randy answered honestly – he told the cop he only had a few months left to live and moved to Virginia to be closer to his wife’s family.

The cop wasn’t sure whether he was telling the truth. So the cop told him, “You know, for a guy who only has a few months to live, you sure look good.” So Randy told the cop that even though he looks great on the outside, the tumors are destroying him from the inside. Then Randy pulled up his shirt to reveal the surgical scars… and the cop let him off the hook, but did tell him to slow down from now on.

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