There are many morals to be gleaned from fantasy. From the consequences of coveting to the danger of spilling secrets, the genre is a treasure trove. Today I’d like to talk about time management and what fantasy has taught me about the beast. These are simple lessons, but when taken seriously, I believe they can have an impact on one’s quality of life.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Lesson 1: What we do with our time is ultimately our own personal decision. Sure things crop up, like illness and accidents, but it is up to us to sift through priorities, to say yes or no to “obligations,” and to manage what time we have.

Yes, I realize that Gandalf is talking on a deeper level here, but it applies to the shallows as well. Learn from the wizard: Own your time-spending decisions.

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, a wonderful little device makes an appearance. The device? A Time-Turner, a watch that allows wizards and witches to travel back through time. In the series, there are only so many in existence and they are closely guarded—and for good reason. Not just any old Tom, Dick, or Harry (AHAHAHAHA!) should be allowed to mess with the fabric of time. Hermione makes good use of it. Besides using the Time-Turner to juggle her ridiculous class schedule, Hermione uses it to go back with Harry in order to save the doomed hippogriff, Buckbeak, and Harry’s godfather, Sirius Black, who becomes a friend to both Harry and Hermione…and signs the permission slip that allows young Potter to attend future trips to the magical village of Hogsmeade.

Lesson 2: Making at least some time for others can benefit you as well. No man is an island, and helping another living soul benefits you as well. Who doesn’t want to leave the world with having made it a bit better for themselves and others?

And last but not least, there’s Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. In the young adult novel, the titular young demigod and his friends are sent on a quest to find Zeus’ missing master Lightning Bolt by the summer solstice. Along the way, they run into many perils (mostly monsters) but one of the biggest one is a hotel that fools you into staying…forever. When Percy and his friends come to their senses and leave, they’ve lost several days, and their deadline is now perilously close.

Lesson 3: Watch out for time-sucks. In my case, the evilly magical hotel is the internet. I go onto Twitter and think “Oh, I’ll post a few tweets, and then check my email” and before you know it, several hours have elapsed. Time is not your friend. The INTERNET is not your friend. Keep an eye on the clock and set boundaries between yourself the siren call of www.

A closing thought: If we were given more time, it would do no good.

Everyone has the same amount of hours in a day. If we squander what we’re already given, we would surely squander that which might be added.

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Keep your nose in a book but an eye on the clock,
Beth

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