Tis the season to be jolly, writes Deepak Jobanputra, however fast time is flying for you
Time is one of those elusive characteristics that many people fail to value in a rational or uniform manner. It is anomalous given its finite nature - I regularly remind myself that time is my most valuable currency. The reason why time may be difficult to value is that while it may be well defined, the experiential nature of time is not. As we age, time seems to pass by more quickly than it has done in the past. Equally, it flies past when you are enjoying yourself, but drags when you are not.
It seems to me that there is very little time to do everything you would like to. This is maybe why I boldly sign up to new commitments - believing in the axiom that 'the more you do, the more you can do'. Not always wise, but it can be highly rewarding - I've been editor of The Actuary for a year now; at times, it feels like a month and at others a decade!
We can, however, be overly zealous in our attempt to be efficient, with examples of super mums and dads who seem to lead multiple lives, while others struggle to manage comparatively simple lifestyles.
Actuaries, who tend to think of things in a logical manner, are not immune to the experiential phenomenon of time. We do, however, recognise the time value of money, putting a changing value on money over different time horizons. This area of study has been well researched by economists through time preference theory, although many of these studies are measured in economic terms.
But there is an opposing view - that of allowing time to pass and not spending it all planning. Some philosophers believe this to be a more valuable use of time. Based on my limited personal experience and the combination of the law of diminishing returns and the efficient frontier, I think the answer lies somewhere in between. My conclusion? At this merry time of the year, do spend your time wisely, but waste it wisely as well! Wishing you all a wonderful festive break and I hope you see in 2013 in style.