Do you wear a watch? Most people do, but just in case you forget yours; there’s a clock on your cell phone, dashboard, computer screen and hanging on the wall in almost every room you will enter today.
Why are we humans so obsessed with knowing what time it is? The reason is rather obvious, don’t you think?
We only have so much time!
That’s right; we only have so many hours in a day, days in a week, and so on. Once they’re gone, there is simply no way to get them back.
So we schedule and plan according to the clock. We make appointments and arrangements. We calculate travel time, meeting time, mealtime, bed time and wake up time. We use a schedule because the last thing we want to do is waste time. We even try to schedule some down time and vacation time.
What does all this scheduling say about the value of time?
Time is our most valuable commodity
We even buy it and sell it as if it was the same as any other commodity, but it’s not. We can change how we use it and who we spend it with, but once we run out there is no way to get more. So we use clocks and watches to keep track of this precious and limited commodity.
On the surface, it all seems very reasonable, especially from a productivity standpoint. The trouble is, time is more than productivity. Time is not just something we exchange for money and I think it is absolutely vital that we fully comprehend that.
Time is the essence of life
There are plenty of things you can get by without, but time is not one of them. You can live for weeks without food and days without water. But you cannot live for one second without time, and that’s true no matter who you are. No amount of influence, power or money can change the fact that, when your time is up, you are done.
Time is life itself
Time is not limited to the productive side of life because everything in life requires some of our precious time. Relationships are built from time. Every experience represents a certain amount of time. Amazingly, we spend about a third of our total time allotment sleeping.
Our humanity is all about how we spend our time.
What effect does the clock have on our humanity?
Is it a positive effect or a negative one? Is time management according to the clock beneficial to our quality of life or does it have an adverse effect?
These are great questions to ponder because we have all been convinced that the clock is our friend, even though it doesn’t always seem that way. It is true that the most financially productive people on the planet are generally strong proponents of time management. The results they produce seem to speak for themselves, don’t they?
But statistics never tell the whole story!
Remember, there is more to life than financial productivity. What about all the other aspects of their lives? Things like their family life, recreational activities, health and fitness levels, and sense of enjoyment and satisfaction. Well, for the most part we don’t know about those things. We just know that they have made a lot of money.
So obviously, time management has its place in a balanced life. We would never want to assume that being financially successful means neglecting other important areas of life. Many times, the exact opposite is true. The skills that lead to a successful mindset can be applied across the board. A truly successful life includes all those other aspects.
What about your natural rhythm?
If you feel like a slave to the clock, what can you do? I think it is healthy to allow room in our lives for a more casual view of time. We all have natural rhythms and cycles, and living by the clock can cause us to lose touch with this part of life.
Consider these two examples:
1) Is it better to eat when we are hungry or when the clock says it’s time? Sure, we can condition ourselves to be hungry at certain times, but is that really the healthiest way to live?
2) Do we know how much sleep is actually best for us personally, or does the clock control our sleeping patterns? Eight hours may work for the majority, but what does that have to do with your needs as an individual?
Everything moves in cycles
Summer has more hours of daylight and this affects everything around us. The animals, birds and plants all change with the seasons. Summer is a time of increased activity. The amount of daylight has an undeniable influence on the natural world.
Can we expect to feel the same and perform the same regardless of the season? Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we are susceptible to these influences. We may be able to force ourselves to ignore them, but how does that affect our internal balance?
Reconnecting with your internal clock
Is it practical to think that we can completely break free of the clock and let nature take over? Probably not, but is there something we can do to get more in touch with our place in the natural rhythm of life?
If you can make room for it, why not try this. One day a week try to avoid letting the clock run your life. On that day, don’t set the alarm or wear a watch, and don’t make a schedule. Wake up when you feel like it, eat when you get hungry, and let your day unfold at its own pace.
Try to spend extra time in meaningful conversation and contemplation. Avoid the temptation to crowd your day with activities. Instead, relax and let go. The rhythm of life will make itself felt if you choose to allow it.
What do you think?
I wrote this article to raise some questions and stimulate some conversation. I do not have an agenda here, just a curiosity. Time is a unique concept and I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject. Could you make time for that?
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