Home > Daily life > You do, too, have time

You do, too, have time

If you are anything like me, and you are, your main obsession is not work, money, accomplishments, relations, health, or anything else you might think of as important.  Trust me, your permanent and often your only preoccupation is time.

Time is what occupies at least half of your thoughts, time is what you communicate about half of the time. Listen to yourself. On any given day, no matter what you’re thinking or talking or emailing about, this is what comes out:

“I won’t have time to do this today (this week, this year).”

“I’ll have to get back to you on that, my plate is pretty full right now.”

“I wish I could, but I don’t have time.”

“I have so much to do, I don’t even know where to start.”

“I have a very tight schedule right now so I’ll get to it whenever I can.”

“I’m running late for … this trip, my meeting, my job interview, the doctor’s appointment, the school game, this date.”

“I haven’t had time to get ready for… the presentation, the get-together, the exam, the event…”

“If only I had more time, I would… write my memoirs, travel round the globe, catch up with old friends, read the classics, learn French, take care of pending stuff, spend more time with the kids, take up yoga, get organized.”

So it goes. All day, every minute of every day. “I don’t have time, I don’t have time, I don’t have time” runs along one track, “I’m late, I’m late, I’m going to be late” along another. Writhing in torment, we still submit to time, our tyrant, the bane of our days, our biggest stress inducer.

It’s true that we don’t have time and we’re always running after that rare, elusive commodity but what makes it infinitely more frustrating is how we keep thinking and talking about it.

Starting today, I’m swearing off mentioning time. My excuse for not getting in touch with people I’ve neglected won’t be that I’ve been too busy. (We do make time for people we really want to see, don’t we?) I won’t use lack of time as an excuse for work not done, deadlines not met, accomplishments that have fallen by the wayside. I’ll bite my tongue before saying on the phone, “sorry, I meant to call earlier but I got caught up in…” I won’t send an email apologizing for it being late because of lack of time. When I look at the clock and see it showing 11 a.m., I won’t think, “where did the morning go? Wasn’t it 7 a.m. just a minute ago?” When I open the box of Christmas ornaments, I won’t bemoan the fact that summer is barely over and here we are already in winter. I will be relentless in tracking my obsession with time and pulling out that weed wherever it sprouts.

Let’s see how this works—say for a month? If life becomes easier, then I’ll consider how to go about truly shaking the time fixation.

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  1. Narguesse McKellip Stevens
    March 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Good luck with that one! I’m at that ghastly stage where I wonder how I ever managed to find time to go to (paid) work.


  2. March 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Remember, time is elastic.


  3. Narguesse McKellip Stevens
    March 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Yes indeed, and we all stretch it to breaking point


  4. Melinda Barnhardt
    March 16, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I must admit to having been a little at a loss to respond to this one without hanging myself. Have just remembered an enormously helpful title: The Last Unicorn, by Peter Beagle. It’s a lovely little book, all about time. The unicorn helps out — and at the end of the book all of the charming (no irony here) characters walk through the clock.


  5. Melinda Barnhardt
    March 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I should have added that I could use a unicorn this week.

    I’m thinking that resolving the time problem is a process (underscore that), rather than a quick fix — but one that we need to restart periodically, in order to respond to others’ requests in a mature way.


    • March 16, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Well, the only thing I could come up with is to stop talking and thinking about it. I’ll see if that helps. Same as not acknowledging the presence of a monster by closing your eyes…


  6. Ed Levy
    March 19, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Most important to feel good about how we have set priorities. Also, the more I do, the more I can do; sort of like starting the race running instead of standing still.


    • March 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm

      You’re right, “the more I do, the more I can do” is key.


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