As I sit in the coffee shop gazing out the window at the traffic outside, I can’t help but ask myself where all my time goes. I’ve managed to carve out some precious moments to linger over a tea, think, and write. Time has managed to slow down in this instance, and yet, I know when I leave this coffee shop, the gears will slam into high gear again and these moments of reflection will be filled with the ‘daily grind.’
It reminds me of Aristotle. He was an ancient philosopher, prolific writer, and polymath, who in 350 B.C. postulated that space is a void, a region of space containing no substance, such that if something were to move in the void, it would move to infinity, yet all things around it would immediately fill the void before it could actually form. Wow! What a philosophical thought so long ago and yet, so relevant today. Simply put, there’s never a void as it’ll always be filled with something. This mirrors our realities in the work world, whereby our free time is immediately filled with the mindless crap of others. We have to be vigilant in protecting our time.
The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival
So how do we overcome this daily ‘time grab.’ It starts with simple steps. As I plan my time for the weeks ahead, for example, I use my online calendar to “book” my time, whether I have things planned or not. I book before and after lunch to stop people from encroaching on my eating, workout, and thinking time. Then I book the end of the day to allow me time to leave work at a decent and predicable time. When these time moochers try and book a meeting, it will be in the time slots that I’ve permitted them to use. This eliminates them dictating to me when I should be available to them.
Time is a funny thing. We’re always trying to increase the things we do in the limited time we have. We’re trying to increase the time we have to do the things we want. And, we’re trying to stop wasting our time on things that waste our time. The challenge is that we need to discern between being active and being productive with our time. We’re always active at work, but seldom are we productive. The panacea to time trading, for example, is doing less so you can do more; more of the things that matter to you. Interesting concept: less for more. This is important because when you do less you do what you ‘need’ to do. In turn, this allows you to do more of the things that matter most.
So what should we do with time? We should seek simplicity and importance in life; that is, the enjoyment of experiences, not material and consumable things. Seek out time trading to gain one day, one month, or one year to fulfill your inner leanings. Life is full of results, not failures. Keep trying to change your behaviour to take control of your time, which is the effect, instead of dealing with the cause. With this you’ll discover that the time you have is gone the second you use it, so use it wisely.
Are you using your time wisely?
Feel free to share your answer in the comments.