Our knowledge economy gives us the illusion exists that there just isn’t enough time. False.
The reality is that there is just as much time in our current, crazy-busy age as there has been in any other. I know it doesn’t seem like it. In fact, I’ve complained far too often that there just isn’t enough time to get everything done. And I’m not alone. “I don’t have enough time” seems to be the mantra of our time.
Time is arguably is our most important resource, Time is non-renewable. Once a second is gone, that’s it….forever. We like to embrace the myth that we can manage time. We can’t, so forget about it: no one ever slowed a minute down….it’s still 60 seconds.
So how can we get the most out of time and why do some seem to get more out of it than others?
If there is one thing Einstein’s theory of relatively taught us, it’s that there is more to time than meets the eye. There was a lot we didn’t know about time then and that we still don’t know. One thing we do know about time is that our perspective can transform how we experience it.
2 Ways To View Time
The ancient Greeks looked at time through two lens: “Karios” and “Chronos”.
- “Chronos” is a quantitative view. It is simply Father Time’s ticking of the clock and unrelenting wheel of 60/24/7/365. Examples of Chronos is when time seems to stand still, drag on OR when when you feel hurried and harried trying to beat the clock.
- “Karios” is a qualitative view. While hard to define, it’s theologically related and refers to a favorable or advantageous moment. Being in “flow” is synonymous in many ways with karios and good way to think about it. Examples would be those moments when, because you were fully engaged and present, time seemed suspended or non-existent in a very pleasant way.
While we need both perspectives, Chronos is so predominate that our view of things has become tunnel-like and monchrome. We only seem to look back to the past or forward to the future. Life gets gray pretty quickly when you only focus on what you can’t change, re-experience or have yet to experience.
Transform Your View
The key difference between these two lenses is that Karios can only be experienced in the present, and that’s the secret to transforming it. When we focus on being fully in the moment, we can savor what we are doing, experiencing and are becoming in the process. And it doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy good memories bring or the anticipation of what’s ahead, its just that you do it in the moment and recognize these for what they give you in the moment…..a subtle distinction I know, but a very real one.
How You Choose to Is Up To You
So how do you practice being present or “in the moment”?
- Recognize when you’re out of it and living in the past or future- This can show up in number of ways. Regrets and “shoulda/woulda/couldas” are signals you’re in the past while the “want to/have to/need to” and “can’t wait to” are signals you’re in living in the future.
- Get in touch with yourself- Close your eyes, take a breath and at the same time a physiologic and emotional pulse-check. If you can’t name your current state then you’re likely less self-aware than you could be (It takes practice).
- Focus on what you can control- Your energy and priorities will give you the most leverage. Remind yourself you can’t control a single second of the clock. (it takes discipline and can become a habit).
- Focus on the task at hand- Ask yourself what is the most important thing you need to be doing right now, this moment. You first may need to get the the bazillion and one other things out of your head and on to paper (it will take some planning and ongoing writing).
What we get from our time depends on our perspective. And thinking about time differently can transform how you experience it.
How is your perspective of time working for you? If you want more fulfillment and less frustration it may be a clue.
Take a minute and leave a comment, I’d love to know how it’s going for you.