If only I had more…I don’t have enough…where does it go…it flies…it goes too slow…when can I find it.
Those are all phrases I have heard and said in both my personal and professional lives. Of course they all pertain to one thing.
I’ve been thinking a lot about it lately and I have decided to write about it. I know I am not the only one who thinks about time.
As a quick diversion, I did a search and there have been many songs written about it. Below are a few that I will highlight.
- TIME IN A BOTTLE by Jim Croce
If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day ’til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you
- TIME by The Alan Parsons Project
Who knows were we shall meet again
Keeps flowing like a river (on and on)
To the sea, to the sea
- CLOCKS by Coldplay
Confusion never stops
Closing walls and ticking clocks
- And my all-time fave band Pink Floyd with TIME
Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way
The reason I am writing about time is because it has been on my mind a lot lately in the context of the three majors areas of my life as discussed below.
- My family life – I have been thinking about how I am spending my down time, away from work. Six of my children live in UT along with my two grandchildren and my other child is finishing his senior year in GA. My oldest son, who is married and in the Army, is shipping off to Germany in May with his family.
Combined with the fact that I am working a contract job in San Jose, CA, it is a perfect formula for feelings of inadequacy as a father. I can’t be at all places at all times, and it feels frustrating to me, and I also think, to all those in my family.
- My spiritual life – the concept of time in my spiritual walk is always an area of work. In a pure sense, I feel as though all of my time should be dedicated to this. Then I get stuck in traditional thinking about what I would have to give up in order to make that happen. The reality is that my spiritual walk should be interwoven, a key component of the fabric that makes up ALL of the key areas of my life and my use of time.
- My professional life – I have been thinking about time in the realm of my professional life in several ways.
First, I’ve been thinking about how long I have been working. My first hourly job was busing tables at Tarochiones Italian Restaurant in Broken Arrow, OK when I was 14 years old. That means I have been working for over 37 years.
Then I have been thinking about how long I have been working in education – 24 years. I started in 1992 as a middle school Spanish, Math and Language Arts teacher. Loved it!
Finally, I have been thinking about the pressures of time that exist in the workplace. Here are some of the symptoms that I have noticed of time pressure at work: scheduling too many meetings, putting too much into each meeting, not having time to follow up after meetings before the next meeting, not giving enough time to developing relationships with people at all levels, not taking time to listen and not feeling comfortable taking time off from work to recharge.
As I began to synthesize all of my thoughts around time, the following visual came to my mind and below is my Sharpee and paper attempt to draw it up.
The big picture concept is simple. My time needs to be spent shaping the future in all aspects of my life. Very little of my time should be spent in the past. I only need tidbits from the past that teach and inform my actions in the future.
I need to spend some time taking care of what I call the “Weeds of Now.” Naturally, there are things in all three areas that require attention in the now: making sure kids are healthy, fed, safe and that my daily work duties are done well. Then comes daily tasks for my health and mental well-being like working out, reading, sleeping and diversionary activities.
The majority of my time needs to be spent creating the future by pulling together the small tidbits of the past, combined with intentional investments of time in the Weeds of Now that are aligned with the goals I have for my family, my spirituality and the professional components of my life.
The bottom line is that all of my activities in the Weeds of Now must lead toward reaching the activities I want to be doing in the future. It all fits together. Well, at least is should. A good first step is thinking about it. A better next step is making it happen.
When I do this consistently, then I will be able to sing that TIME IS ON MY SIDE (Rolling Stones).