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Diamonds in the Hourglass

Over the last week, a theme has developed, which by last Friday was destined to become a series. We looked into the vortex into which time slips when we are busy doing everything and nothing. We also looked at the emergencies of others which eat away not only our time, but also our (money, energy, faith in humanity). Lastly, we looked at the the tolerance we show to those who have only their own best interests at heart and the ways we circumvent our own (goals, lives, needs) to deliver.

A Long Block

When we look at the three topics of time, drama and transference, a pattern emerges: Priorities. Sounds like simple enough psychology, but in reality, the alternative perspective needed to make changes is not quite so simple. To get around the block, we have to answer some questions about ourselves. More importantly, we have to give honest answers, which may not be congruent with the self-image we have and project.

Your Appointment

You can be seen now.

Some of us have so much to do with and for other people we refer to meetings and appointments without thinking twice. But do we do it when we are talking about personal time? Why not?

We look at the things we do as an occupation and as participating in someone else’s occupation (doctor visits, attorney meetings, agent appointments) as important because money is changing hands at some level. One or both are being paid for the time being expended. This expense of resources makes us value the time and give it a measure of reverence.

Why is it we do not refer to the telephone call from our (parents, children, siblings) or the dinner date with (Mate, Quaint, BFF) as a meeting or appointment?

Answers from the peanut gallery:

Because it happens randomly. I don’t schedule those things.”

Sure you do. When you get off the telephone, you say, “I will talk to you later.” That is the same thing as calling someone’s secretary and scheduling a three o’clock. Your anniversary (or Quaint’s birthday) comes along on an appointed day, which is completely not random.

Because they aren’t that important.”

Aren’t they? Our social interactions are important to our psychological well-being. We need the camaraderie of our peers and the intimate interaction. We need the connections to others who think the way we do, are willing to listen to our differing view points and succumb to the need to correct us when we are utterly off the track.

Because they are routine.”

And going to work five days a week is not routine? Discounting the importance of something you do everyday is hard to swallow. Think of some of the things you do everyday and determine if they are important:

  • Take medicine
  • Brush teeth
  • Eat
  • Sleep
  • Hygeine

Some of these things you do more than once in a day. You do them to maintain your health. We can all agree health is important. Why then do we discount the things which keep our minds and (emotionally) hearts healthy?

Perspective

Time is valuable.

To get to the end of the street where we can turn the corner requires looking at the clock from a different perspective. We have been to the corner before, but instead of seeing a new path, we see the same old block. Repeating the same action expecting a different result is insanity.

For so long we have heard Benjamin Franklin’s quote Time is money, we have come to believe the time we have outside earning capacity is not valuable. It is time to challenge that thinking.

Time is valuable even without a monetary designation.” ~Red Dwyer

If time were not valuable, why do we spend it? Perchance, Red and Ben were thinking the same thing.

When we spoke of time in Wasting, we all admitted to letting it slip away. In order to waste something, we have to assign it a value. Time is a commodity with a limited quantity assigned to each of us. To make the most of it, we have to respect time as valuable. Time is only wasted when we spend it on unedifying, displeasing or futile endeavors.

Stop the Press

This is not an exercise to pressure us into doing anything. The shift in perspective is not to look back at the time we frittered away daydreaming as a cause for regret. Instead, this is a forward looking perspective which puts a better estimation of value on the things we choose to do.

I can pencil you in a month from Thursday.

It also is not a call to stuff our schedules so full of important things we lose track of ourselves. This perspective shift is going to challenge your idea of important.

As you are looking around the corner, think about the inherent value in the social interactions in your life. Think about the telephone calls and the emails, cards or letters and being in the presence of someone, whether you speak or not. All of these interactions have value, even if they are unpleasant experiences:

The call from the mother-in-law which drips with disapproval and smacks of I told you so…

…teaches us we can love Mate without loving the in laws and appreciate Mate’s accomplishment of not having grown into being its parent.

The email from the boss which you do not get until after you have had dinner which tells you to rework your best project because it was not what the client was looking for, exactly…

…teaches us not to commit workplace violence and helps us better listen to instructions.

The dinner date where Quaint finds terrific glee in recounting your latest faux pas…

…teaches us to laugh at ourselves and get over the sting of embarrassment in order to make better decisions.

Even if the knee-jerk reaction was the time could have been better spent, in the end, we learn something from all of our interactions.

Time-Suck

We listed some of the things which suck the sand out of the hourglass. Daydreaming had to be the most poignant of the time-sucks. Daydreaming has its value as well. We let go of all the preconceptions and irrational judgments, are free to explore the realm of our own possibilities and envision those things we most want to fill our time in three dimensions. If we were on the clock, the boss would call it brainstorming or spitballing.

To admit there are time-sucks in our lives, we have to make the judgment: Time is valuable. This concept will take us to the next segments of the Priorities Series. Stay tuned.

~~~~~~~~~~

Can you judge all of your time valuable? Do you want to take the hourglass and squeeze it? How can you make every grain of sand a diamond?


(c) Ann Marie Dwyer
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34 Comments

  1. I had a good laugh at “…teaches us not to commit workplace violence ”
    I have had to re-think some of my time lately since I’ve been going to the gym. 1 less post a week now gives me more of my computer time to work on my comics as well as keeping up with all my favourite sites.
    If only we could slow down time & speed up the pace that we are able to do things.

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 23, 2012

      The proficiency of what we do is often raised when we have the relaxation of the clock pressure. Glad to give you a laugh. That happens to be the voice of experience 😉

      Reply
  2. “Time Warrior: How to defeat procrastination, people-pleasing, self-doubt, over-commitment, broken promises and chaos” by Steven Chandler

    Great book. I bought and devoured the kindle edition in two nights. Here’s a quote from the book:

    “To really live now there are two things I want to phase out of my life forever: (1) Resentments about the past and (2) Worries about the future.”

    Time is an illusion, there is only now. (mcd)

    John

    Reply
    • Red

       /  March 25, 2012

      I like both quotes. I have already done the first and believe completely in the second.

      Reply
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