It was probably as close to an out-of-body experience an evangelical Baptist can get. I could hear my mouth saying, "Yes, I'd love to," while my mind screamed, No! Stop! You don't have the time.

We had gathered around the coffee pot for our morning break. One of the senior faculty members said to me, "Carl, I'm working on an important project, and I need the help of a sharp young man. Last night I was thinking about who I could get to help me, and I thought of you."

My ego was hooked. I bit on the lures "important project" and "sharp young man" without considering the hours of work and early morning committee meetings that came with them. As the conversation continued, I realized I was on a taut, twenty-pound line for something that I had neither the time nor energy to devote.

This kind of thing happens all the time. But I am slowly learning some lessons about how to prevent it; lessons derived not from my pocket calendar but from my wallet.

Just as time is money, so good time management resembles ...

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