When reflecting on today’s topic, I was reminded of poem by Stephen Crane:
A man said to the universe:
“Sir I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
Time is much like the Crane’s depiction of the universe. It constantly passes without waiting. Once a day has gone by, it is forever lost and can never be recovered. In 365 days, you will be a year older, regardless if you lost 20 pounds or gained 20. Time’s arrow flows forward without any sense of obligation.
Myth: You can manage time.
Time is our greatest constraint, but it is also a wonderful leveler as everyone, from the highest king to the lowest serf, is given the exact same quantity of time per day: 24 hours. Of course, this can be subdivided into smaller useful chunks, but that really doesn’t ‘manage’ time. There is no way to manipulate time or create more of it.
While discussing this myth with a friend of mine who is pursuing a PhD in physics, he had two interesting objections:
1. What about Leap Seconds?
My response: Sure, occasionally a ‘leap second’ is added to atomic clock in order to adjust for a minor difference between our artificial calendar and the true length of the solar year. This does not add time, but is merely a book-keeping procedure. The Western Calendar, with the addition of the Leap Day which occurs every 4 years (with a few exceptions), is an excellent approximation for this timespan; however, every now and then another second is added to account for the difference between the reality of our planet’s orbit and the human measurement of time. In fact, only 23 leap seconds have been added since 1972. Even if this was some kind of temporal alchemy, would a handful of additional seconds over a lifetime really be a major benefit to anyone? Doubtful. However, this is not time creation, but a simple error correcting methodology.
2. What about Einstein?
My response: Yes, this Universe is a fascinating place, and time is certainly relative. If I jump on to a spaceship traveling at the speed of light, time will pass much slower for me than everyone else left on Earth. However, until hyperspace, wormholes, and time warps are part of everyday life, I think we can agree that the six-billion plus people on the planet are experiencing time dilation in the same way. I do agree that when the phrase ‘IT’ begins to stand for Interstellar Travel, many of our practical assumptions will have to be re-examined. Yet, I am going to ignore the Einstein objection (for now) on pragmatic grounds.
Bottom line: Life Management, not Time Management, is the key.
You do not manage time, but you do have full control over your choices. The only one who has power over your thoughts, your words, and your deeds is you.
Life is what you make it. You decide which roads to walk down. It is your journey. You can choose to climb the highest mountains or explore deep underground caves; you can study physics or metaphysics…or both. You choose what your life will be. In the past, you made decisions that determined what you life is today. You choose what it will become in the present moment.
Time Management is a major misnomer. I only use it is a tag as many people still refer to this way. Some who object to the idea of Time Management call this Self-Management; however, I prefer the term Life Management as there are networks and interactions beyond one’s self. You must balance your life so you can make good choices to manage everything in your life, including family, values, goals, career, friends, finances, health, etc.
Life Management is dependent on being able to make wise and effective choices so the outcomes you desire are realized.