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Friday, June 10, 2011

Time is on my side


The Rolling Stones seemed to think so, but in reality is time really on our side? I suppose that depends on the person. Time seems to be on the side of some people more than others. And there are those people who tend to have a running battle with time. Time Management is a HUGE industry and topic.

The quest to manage time effectively and get the most out of the meager 24 hours we get each day. Subtracting the time we spend on sleep cuts us back to about 16 hours a day. Subtract again for the time we spend earning a living and then more time it takes to get to and from our workplace, we are down to a mere 6 hours. That doesn't seem like something that is "on my side" anymore.

Thankfully, I live very close to my job. I feel very sorry and am baffled by how those whose commute is more than 1 hour a day can bear it. I simply don't have the patience, stamina or will to spend my precious time sitting in traffic that could take an enormous bite out of my precious "free" time. But that's another topic for another day. I could rant on that for hours.

One thing that is absolutely guaranteed to set me off is lateness or lack of attention to time. Punctuality and time consciousness is a trait I admire as much as any virtue. Very few situations rankle me more than being made to wait,  or even worse, being in a meeting that goes longer than originally scheduled.

The assumption is that my time, and that of the other people in the meeting, is not important enough to be considered. Yeah, let's start the meeting 15 minutes late or let's go 30 minutes long. What's the big deal? No big whoop, right? WRONG! Sadly, in the workplace, you have to endure it because it is usually a supervisor who is the master of your time. BUT when a co-worker or peer does this, it isn't just rude, it's very unprofessional. It is enough to make me seethe. Especially when the person feigns sorrow or gives shabby apologies and then goes on to imply that they had some valid reason for their lack of attention to time management. Grrrrr!

Tempus Fugit is the Latin saying they put on the face of Grandfather clocks. As a child, I always loved seeing the little saying and wondered what it meant. TIME FLIES. And how powerful and true those two little words are. It really does most of the time, although not when you are in training or a painfully boring meeting. OR in traffic. But when you are doing something you love or sleeping, it surely does fly by.

I remember years ago seeing the book, "Time flies when you're alive" by Paul Linke, and how clever and deep that title was. And now, as I am approaching my 50th year of life, I am stunned to realize how fast it does fly by. All those clich├ęs about time are still in use because they ring very true.

All in due time
Better late than never
In the nick of time
Marking time
A stitch in time saves nine
There’s no time like the present
Time after time
Time flies when you are having fun
Time heals all wounds
Time is running out
Time on your hands
The times, they are a changing
So, if time is an unrenewable resource and such a valuable thing in life, why is it so hard to keep track of it? Hey, remember, we only have an allotted amount of it and wasting it is really a bad thing! I am all for wasting time having fun, relaxing by a pool or beach or even just watching some cheesy episodes of the "Millionaire Matchmaker", but I don't want to waste my time waiting for someone else to get the get their time squared away. 

I get philosophical about it. Why is it so hard to consciously attempt to be mindful and not waste the most precious resource there is in life? I can only sumise that it doesn't come as naturally to some as it does for others. It must be harder to manage or keep a handle on for some people. Perhaps they don't see the value.

To me, it seems that one of the greatest luxuries is to be able to afford to waste time. You can't buy more of it! Once those 24 hours are gone in a day, they are gone. That's it. And think how many people could really use a spare five or six hours a day. Those who have to work two jobs or go to school or balance work and kids?

Balancing work and home life is one of the hottest topics in magazines, newspapers and books. I think more people need to really think about what they spend their time on and how maybe, just maybe, if they put it into perspective and made an effort to treat their own time, and that of others, with more value they would probably find better ways to manage it.

It is so ironic to me that really frugal people, who can't bear to waste a cent more than they have to, are often completely frivolous when it comes to wasting time. Hey, get a clue- time is money. Anyone worth their salt who manages a budget knows that. But putting it into practice seems to be an impossible feat for so many people. They are always running behind, late for meetings, late for doctor's appointments, even late for work.

Being overly optimistic is a fatal flaw where time is concerned. I think we should start teaching kids, from a very young age, that timeliness is as important as any of the other values they are taught. Good manners, clean hands and proper grammar are fundamentals for any young child, but what about the value of time management? Why isn't it valued more? Is it because it requires a kind of discipline and forethought that is becoming less important in our hustle bustle age? I just don't get it.
My Myers-Briggs personality type is ENFJ. The "J" is what keeps me conscious of time. I am speechless when people walk into a meeting 20 minutes late like it is nothing. I mean it still really gets to me. I don't get used to it. I try really hard not to be a judgmental person but I confess that I DO judge people who can't manage their time. It makes me think they are careless or thoughtless or unreliable. It makes me anxious. If they can't manage their own time, how am I supposed to let them manage mine?

Maybe it is an obsessive-compulsive trait, I don't know, but I take it very seriously. We all have our little "buttons" and that is one of my big ones. I have learned not to take it personally, but I am not to the point where it doesn't push those buttons. I am a work in progress and that is one of the things I still have to "live and let live" about.
Good, bad or indifferent- those are my thoughts and views on the topic of time. I am sure in the course of this blog, it will arise again. Time is a favorite subject of mine and I have lots to say about it. I would love to hear what others have to say about it too.

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