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Generosity with time

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Unravelling the meaning of time well spent

“We need to see time as like gold,” says Amanda Rose, founder of Entrepreneurial and Small Business Women Australia.

Time is a precious commodity. Each day, humans all around the planet are gifted the same amount of time. How do we get to the end of a day and, eventually, to the end of our lifetime, and know that we’ve spent our gift of time well?

In this Helping Hands panel discussion, our panel of experts begin unravelling the answer to the question of time well spent as they discuss what it means to understand the gift of time and the benefits of being generous with it. Amanda is joined by Jon Owen, CEO of Wayside Chapel; and Jenny Blok, the NSW Sector leader of Aged Care Chaplaincy.

The value in time, says Jon, is not the quantity we have, or the speed with which we use it – even though this is how most of us use the gift of time. Instead, he says, the value of time is found in quality.

“Kindness never really happens at a fast speed. We need the ability to go hard, but also to recognise when the moment is hitting us in the face … There are those moments when someone’s soul is hanging on the line or being laid bare … you know that this is a moment that matters … Be the one who stops. That really will determine how we do spend our time, how we do give our lives away … “

For those in their later years of life, Jenny says time takes on a different meaning that can’t truly be understood until you get there. The days of rushing from one thing to the next are over, and the diary, once packed to overflowing, sometimes has scarcely an entry.

“They (the elderly) have got all the time in the world, but their time is limited as well, and they recognise that – that their time is limited.”

As a chaplain in the Aged Care setting, Jenny acutely feels the constant juggle between these two experiences of time:

“What is really difficult for chaplains is that we still are busy, busy, busy, but we are called to be present for people … it’s a ministry of presence. To be able to take a deep breath, and pause, and sit and lean in … to be present to them and give them time … the most beautiful way to show people that you love them is to remain …”

When mentoring women in business, Amanda teaches that understanding the value of time and learning how to best use it is crucial to success. She encourages women to think carefully on two things; firstly – that what other people present as an opportunity is not necessarily what they need; and secondly – that they don’t need to say yes to succeed.

“What I encourage women in business to do is (to acknowledge that) yes, your business is important … Be productive with your business time. But go out and choose where you want to spend your free time, your voluntary time … don’t wait until people come to you … The biggest lie in society is that you need to say yes to be accepted or to succeed … it (saying yes) doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to work out for you.”

Among the many excellent points the panellists make during the discussion, they all agree that the satisfaction of time well spent is most likely to flow from a foundation of clear values and purpose.

“I think it was Eugene Peterson that said, ‘A busy person is a lazy person because they’re too lazy to say no.’,” Jon shares. “So often those demands (on our time) go against our values, and yet we make the value call to contravene our own values (in order) to help. Our diaries in the rear view are actually the greatest statement of our values … It often can confront you when you do a bit of a retrospective of where you spent your time.”


See the GENEROSITY WITH TIME discussion and the full catalogue of Helping Hands panels at Catch up on full episodes of Helping Hands on 9NOW.

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* Our panellists, Amanda Rose, Jon Owen and Jenny Blok, and the Helping Hands producers are available for interview on radio, TV and online to discuss this topic. Get in touch at


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