|See that crazy rabbit? That's me chasing time every day!|
See, the funny thing about time is that it is influenced by our perception. When we are bored to tears, minutes last a lifetime. When we are deeply involved in something we love, time seems to fly by and last only seconds. When we're looking forward to something happening, time seems to drag on and take forever. Yet when we are dreading something uncomfortable, time plays tricks and we're soon facing the unwanted. But, the reality is that time is a constant. Minutes last 60 seconds. Hours last 60 minutes. Days last 24 hours. Time does not waver and time does not discriminate. We are all given the same gift of time, every single day. This is Vanderkam's predominant point and her premise for writing 168 hours. She begins her book by talking about Theresa Daytner, a woman who makes it a point to go out on an hour long hike on a particular morning because it is sunny out, and it would be a shame to not go out an enjoy the day. Vanderkam goes on a bit more about Daytner who seems to have an easy, well-managed daily life which might lead us to think that she's lucky and has more time to play with than others. But here's the thing, Theresa Daytner is the CEO of a multi-million dollar corporation and a very involved mother to 6 children, and she volunteers her time as well. When Daytner attended a White House luncheon, upon hearing her story, President Obama looked at her stunned and asked her "Do you ever sleep?" We are all amazed at people who seem to have the ability to accomplish so much and we hold them on pedestals with justifications of our own inability to make time our friend rather than our enemy. Vanderkam spends a lot of time talking about the myth of the time crunch, which happens to be the number one concern of most people today. Yet all of us have the same 168 hours per week to choose to do whatever we want to do with. Not enough time to exercise? If you decide to work out 5 hours a week, you'll still have 163 hours to do other things with. I won't bore you with all the calculations, but recommend that you check the book out if you're interested. It is mind-opening.
What really struck with me about this book, is this: I have more time than I think. When I first came to that realization, I refused it. No way! I don't have enough time! Then I started to think about my days and how I spend my time, and you know what? Turns out I really do have lots of time, I just sometimes chose to spend it on the wrong things. If I hadn't surfed the net for 30 minutes, I would have been able to do this other thing I keep saying I want to do, but never do because I don't have enough time. Kind of silly when you think about it right?
When asked by Vanderkan what she thought was different about her that made her so successful at working with time, Theresa Daytner said: "Here's what I think is the difference. I know I'm in charge of me. Everything that I do, every minute that I spend is my choice." When I read this statement, I was in awe and I felt a shift in my way of dealing with time. I have for the longest time, let time control me. All my actions, my choices, my dreams, my way of living was controlled with my perception that time was this Sword of Damocles dictating my life. Daytner's statement says the opposite: I am in control of my time. I choose when or how I spend my time. This way of seeing my relationship with time has been liberating and empowering, to the point that I copied Daytner's statement and have posted it so I can be reminded everyday of my power to choose how I live my life and how I spend my time. And though I have not yet fully applied this concept of time to my life (last week was actually ironic considering this new found revelation) here's the difference in my life so far: I now ask myself if what I am doing is a good use of my precious time, if the activity I choose to spend my time on makes me happy, fulfills me, helps me grow, or not. If it doesn't, then it will go by the way side.
My "Me" is feeling reenergized by this new perception of time, and I am feeling strong and empowered. If you are interested in seeing how the 168 hours can work for you, you can go on Vanderkam's website http://www.168hours.com/ and download a time sheet to help you track how you spend your time and help you make choices that will nurture your "Me" rather than deplete it. Today, I chose to write this blog and share this with you, and the 40 minutes I chose to spend writing it, were incredibly worth it.
What will you do for your Me today?