Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Fine and Pleasant Art of Stealing Back Time

You cannot make time.

This is a misquotation that we often use in our own society.  We speak about "making time" for this and that, as if we somehow had the ability to control quantum physics and generate additional seconds ex nihilo

Instead, what we seem to mean is that "I will find some time to do that" - which again seems like a bit of a mis-statement.  Time is the invisible and ephemeral; like the wind, we can only see its passing by the running of clocks and the stretch of seasons into years.

Almost everyone wants more time.  It is something that we never seem to have enough of, something that we pay millions of dollars every year to "save" (Yes, you guessed it - we can no more save time that make or find it and even if we could, how would we store it?).  I want it as bad as anyone else - if for no other reason that to do something of the things I really would like to or need to.

So if we cannot make, find or save time, how do we get it?  There is really only one answer:  we take it back.

I know - taking it back sounds as unreasonable as the other concepts I have just proposed as silly.  And in a sense we cannot take it back physically - but we can recover it.  And when I say recover it, I really mean steal it back (which sounds a great deal more exciting than merely recovering it, you have to admit).

The reality is that every activity we do - sleeping, eating, working, writing a blog, running - consumes a certain amount of the 24 hours we are given every day.  Accept the fact that certain biological facts - sleep, for example - take a certain amount of time whether or not we care to admit it.  What is left is that 16 to 18 hours a day we call life.

To get the time we want to do the things we want, we have to learn to steal it from other places in our lives.  Am I suggesting stealing time from your employer, for example?  Perish the thought - but what I am suggesting is that you may be giving away your time to your employer for free (not that they will mention that to you, of course). And something as simple as commuting can double or triple, depending on the time you do it.  Yes, there are such things as Books on CD and How to Learn Czech for the car - but how much better if you were not limited in the use of that time"

And think about the activities that you do in a day.  Are all of them necessary?  Important?  If you took time away from something of lesser value for something of greater value, would your life really be that much emptier?  Or over time, would it be more full?

It is all about priorities of course, the practice of determining what is more important and less important in our lives.  But the greatest effort in prioritization will matter not at all unless we are able to match it with the time to meet those priorities.  And that time will only come when we remove it both physically and psychically from somewhere else.

More time is not being manufactured nor is it being given away - so go wrest your time back and, as they say, "Drive it like it was stolen".

Because it will be.

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