All of us wish we had 28 hour days and 3-day weekends. The truth is, surprisingly, this is possible. Provided we are willing to invest ‘time’ in this wish.
Fundamentally, to achieve this, we must learn to drink from Life’s cup, one sip at a time. And not rush through Life. Agreed that despite our earnings having gone up, and technology having simplified much of our lives, we continue to be faced with a deficit of time. We live in a world where traffic’s getting worse, the home-work-home commute is therefore only getting longer and is a drudgery, meetings are both meaningless and never-ending, targets seem even more unreasonable than they used to, the children are demanding more attention despite their having ‘grown older’ and overall, a sense of racing__from event to event, from crisis to crisis, from chore to chore__ prevails over living! And, of course, weekday mornings are still dreadful.
This, however, is the time to pause, to take a deep breath and go through your morning, day and week, mindfully. This may seem like a stupid, impractical suggestion. But consider it. By running faster and faster, by rushing, you are only going to exhaust yourself. Your energy will remain depleted all day and perhaps all week. Which is all the more reason why you need to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness means to focus your attention on whatever you are doing, unmindful of a previous task or an upcoming one. We do just the opposite. While packing the kids away to school, your focus is on your own commute. While on the ride to work, you are already thinking of the 3.30 pm meeting for which you are underprepared. And worry if it will get over in time for you to leave work and get home, because there’s the carpenter coming over at 6.30 pm to fix the wardrobe lock! This prescription, to slow down and yet proceed with focus, isn’t an original one, is definitely not invented by me, nor is it a “cure for our times”. The 12th century Tibetan Buddhist monk, Jetsun Milarepa (1052~1135) had advised thus: “Hasten slowly and ye shall soon arrive.” He championed nimbleness and un-distractedness over rushing, even in those times.
The simple truth about time is that you can have as much time as you want, available to you, provided you are ready to work for and on it. Many of us are armchair wish-makers. We want more time, but we don’t want to make changes to our lifestyles and schedules. We don’t want to analyze our workdays and weeks and decide what’s core and what’s non-core. Without investing time in understanding what’s important and worthy of our time, we can’t expect to find more time in our daily lives!
Get this straight. And know that this aspect about managing your time is non-negotiable. When you do work on time diligently, your Life will become meaningful and an endless experience of ‘leisure’. It was the super-tramp poet William Henry Davies (1871-1940) who wrote in his 1911 poem, ‘Leisure’: “What is this Life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare!” Imagine, if in a packed week, on a crazy morning, you could just ‘stand and stare’ at people rushing to work! It really is possible. All you have to do is to understand that if you want to have the time of your Life, you must be willing to give your Life, time!