The Cosmic Irony of Time, Money and Motivation

This morning I got up at 7:50am, watched the news (well, BBC Breakfast, but close enough) while eating my breakfast. I worked crunching number for an education organisation (I’m an office temp) for six hours, bar a half hour lunch break. On said lunch break I read a few more chapter of Dante’s Inferno: A retelling in prose*. At 3:00pm I headed home to switch bags and catch the bus into the city centre to go to the library and spend a couple of hours studying. Home by 8pm, and after dinner, I spent a bit of time catching up on writer forums, commented on a friend’s blog and wrote this little ramble.

Why did I just give you a run down of my day? Because I’m knackered. It’s coming up to 11pm and I haven’t stopped all day. It feels great!

Now, let’s rewind a couple of months and take a look at me sat on the sofa with my laptop, aimlessly wandering about on the internet, worrying about how I don’t have any money or a job. Hmm.

I’m going to make a speculative leap and say that it’s not just me that only seems to be able to make use of time when I don’t have any.

A set of scales balances a gold alarm clock with a stack of dollar bills

Image from

Everyone knows the universal truth that time and money are inversely proportional to each other. The more you work to earn money the less time you have to enjoy it, or, if you have time aplenty the chances are you don’t have the money to do anything with it. Pondering thusly on the walk home from the bus stop this evening though, I realised it’s not just an enforced irony of life, but a deeper truth that excess encourages wastefulness.

Okay, so reading Dante’s Inferno (prose-ified as it was) may have had something to do with this train of thought. There are four whole circles of hell devoted to various types of excess and wastefulness.

The more money you have, the more flippant you become about spending it. The more time you have, the more inclined you become to let the hours and days slip past without accomplishing anything productive.

For the past eight months, I’ve had no job or other commitments to occupy my time. Consequently I’ve had free reign to devote time to my creative projects, but, for some reason, I have very little to show for it. It wasn’t until the day I hauled my ass to the temp agency to register that I went to the city library to do some research for my novel. At that point I knew time was running out and suddenly I got loads more done.

Now I’m working pretty much full time and I feel more motivated to make good use of those precious evening hours simply because they are the only time that is mine.

Employment can of course be substituted for any commitment. While I was (supposed to be) studying at university last year I wrote loads of fiction while procrastinating from studying.

The cosmic irony of time, money and motivation; if you have time you lack money and motivation to make use of it and if you have money and motivation you lack time to make use of it.

Now, hands up all those self-disciplined people who are really good at doing stuff under nothing but their own motivation?

*I downloaded this somewhat dumbed down version (by David Bruce) of the classic poem by Dante Alighieri as a free Kobo eBook at the same time as downloading the original. I promise I am intending to tackle the original at some point, really.

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