The Tao of Time by Diana Hunt and Pam Hait 1991

This is a fascinating book which basically denies the validity of Western, clock-driven concepts of time. Its authors teach internally-driven time-keeping habits based on the Eastern principles of Taoism. Taoism can be viewed as a philosophy or religion: it is holistic, a defining set of practices and beliefs to govern a practitioner’s actions and values. The authors gradually expand their mission from helping someone gain an innate sense of time for immediate projects to helping someone gain confidence in deciding the value of an action in relation to his/her life’s goals. That help is generous and compassionate, and other authors also help their readers consider these larger questions, for example David Allen with his Getting Things Done system.

I had a very mixed reaction to this book. On the one hand, I agree that learning how to listen to one’s inner voices, about one’s sense of time, one’s immediate capability to do a certain task, one’s motivation to do any particular task, take any particular pathway, is extremely valuable. I also thought that Ms. Hunt and Ms. Hait did an excellent job of introducing the exercises and concepts their readers need to explore to successfully transition to an internally-based mastery of time.

My qualm with this book comes from a very subtle flaw in its logic. Many of the case studies this book cites come from people who evidently have a lot of money: families which take an entire summer to never set an alarm, an investment broker (self-made, possibly) who retired in his mid-40s, lawyers, doctors and similar. It’s not clear at all if they have housekeepers, nannies, dog walkers. I truly believe that a single mother of two working three jobs can get benefit from this book BUT I also think it’s going to be harder. No less worthwhile however.

About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

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