Since starting a nine to five job I have noticed that everything comes down to time. Everything can be calculated to the cold determination of seconds, minutes and hours. My routine has been mapped out accordingly. When I wake up, I do twenty minutes of meditation. I then drink a pint of water and eat breakfast in five minutes. I brush my teeth for two minutes. I then get dressed and sort out my hair for five minutes. I leave the house at 7:15 am, park my car at 7:25 am, walk to the station in five minutes and get on the train at 7:40 am. I arrive at work at 8:45 am and until 5 pm I am bound to Outlook’s scheduling assistant.
I was rushing to get the 5:28 pm train back home when I realise
d how I had been approaching time since I started working. I’m constantly checking my watch or my phone and continually estimating the time between A and B. I realised that I had spent much of my time thinking about what I needed to do next and what was coming up, yet I had spent very little time considering what I was actually doing.
I thought a little deeper and remembered the many times people have told me that time is a human made. I reasoned with that notion. Time does pass and we continue to go forward. Day does turn to night and autumn to winter. With that passing of time things grow, change and depart. That is not human made, we cannot change our linear progression through time and space. However, clocks, time zones and the numbers prescribed to count the intervals between moments in time have been created by people.
I snapped out of my endemic daydreaming and slowed my pace. I took in the hundreds of faces that passed, rushing and glancing towards the nearest clock. It struck me that for the last month I have been completely hooked to time. Timing everything and making every routine efficient so I have ‘extra time’. Gaining extra time can
have uses, for example one can sleep for an extra ten minutes or so. However, in other aspects this quest for time is a real hindrance to my life. For example, I recently cut out an extra ten minutes of exercise to be on time for another activity. This isn’t a great way to live.
The extra time I gain is actually making the quality of my time worse. When I am mindful of time, my focus lies with the schedule I am desperately trying to keep. If my consciousness is focused on this realm during the day I am not present in the moment, I am always thinking about what is ahead.
Whilst time may be fabricated, it is quite hard to get around not sticking to it. For better or worse, we do have to get to our jobs on time and we do need to set times and dates to coordinate our plans with others, it would be silly not to. However, how we approach what we are doing can be changed.
One thing we can do is practice mindfulness as we go about a task or activity. By being present in the moment we can withdraw our wandering minds from timings and what’s happening next and instead really embrace what we are doing. Another thing we can do is allow ourselves plenty of time to do things. For example, I can wake up ten minutes earlier and avoid rushing to get things done, reducing stress and worrying about my schedule. Finally, in situations where we can forget about the time, we should! For example, on a train there is no point in me checking my watch, I will get to a place when I get there. In the mean time, I can read my book and embrace the story with no thought for anything else.
If nothing else, it is certainly worth being mindful of your approach to time. Whilst working my position towards time completely changed without me realising. If I continue to always think about what is happening next and how long I have to do something, then my life will be negatively affected. Hopefully changing my relationship to time should change this and make for a better life.