Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Time Management - A Matter of Life And Death

The other day when I looked at my calendar I noticed I had a haircut appointment the next day. That gave me a cold chill. Seriously, it seemed to me that I had been sitting in the chair chatting with Blaine only a few days ago. But in fact it has been four weeks.

Time seems to fly by much too quickly these days. I've got to figure out a way to slow it down.

In 2004 I reconnected with a friend from high school - after 41 years! But it seems like only yesterday that I exchanged that email with my old friend. In fact, it has been seven years.

It seems that time moved more slowly 40 years ago. Back in 1963, after all of us graduated and went our separate ways, a lot happened in the next seven years. I spent four years at West Point (I could write a novel about that experience, maybe more than one). After that, the Officer's Basic Course at Fort Bliss, then Army Ranger School. From there I went to Germany, where I was given command of a HAWK missile battery (I could write a novel about that, too). Then I served a year as an infantry adviser in Vietnam (I suppose there's a novel there, too). I returned for my Officer's Advanced Course and moved on to Duke University to start working on my Ph.D. in English. All this happened in seven years. It was like living four lifetimes.

Today, seven years seems to have passed in the blink of an eye. I am still staying in touch and "catching up" with my old friend. After the 2004 hurricanes, my wife and I moved to the Texas Hill Country. At work, it has taken seven years, but my company has successfully completed bringing to market our new online professional development service, ProStar Coach.

In fact, time doesn't speed up or move more slowly. It just seems that way.

But I don't have many more seven-year periods left in me. I want the next seven years and the rest of my time to be packed with memorable experiences. Do my work with more focus and intensity. Do the things that matter most. Attack writing projects I've been putting off. Play as hard as I work. Fill each day with satisfying experiences, followed by moments of appreciation.

Time is precious. We only get so much, and we never know how much that's going to be.

No more of this "blink of an eye" stuff.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength .


Meredith Bell said...

A very important perspective, Denny. I share your desire to work with more focus and intensity...and to play as hard as I work. The way to make these all happen is to plan each day's priorities and let nothing interfere or interrupt the time you've allocated for specific activities. And be clear with everyone around you (including me) about your priorities. :-)

Kathleen Scott said...

Amen! Savor every moment and fill them.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I didn't know you were a West Pointer. How great. I'd love to read that book, if you ever write it.

Love to you and my dear Kathleen!


Ron said...

Ron said...
Years ago I visited a sister-in-law in Nebraska, who, at the time, had three very active young daughters living at home. A decorative plaque hung on her kitchen wall bearing a short paradox, the sentiment of which I will never forget.

My aging memory recalls the following paraphrase of those wise words: "Sometimes the days seem to drag on forever...but the years flash by in a moment."

My sister-in-law had placed the plaque on her wall in the context of recognizing the busy and relentless hard work required to rear children and help them develop into young adults. But I took the sentence to apply to the perception of time that any worthwhile human activity will impose on us, if we work hard at it and try to do it well.
March 23, 2011 12:36 PM

Sean said...

Time definitely seems to go by faster when you're older. Sometimes I think it's because younger people have less history and thus they are living and recording their experiences more. Other times I think it's because younger people have less to do and thus more free time. Lord knows I haven't been BORED in a long, long time... there's just too many things I want to do and I never seem to get to do most of them.

Probably though I'm just making poor decisions about time usage and time management.

Skip Weisman said...

Followed a tweet this AM to find this great post.

It is so true and important for us to understand. It is quite a phenomenon.

Many, many years ago I heard this explanation and cannot remember the source, for what its worth I'll share this:

The reason why as we get older time seems to go by much more quickly is that each moment becomes a smaller percentage of our entire experience. For example, when we are 5 years old a year is 20% of the time we've been alive, where as at 50, one year is just 1/50th.

So, maybe that has something to do with the perception and the perspective. Regardless, its time to get moving.

One final thought, so when are you going to write those novels?

Kent Julian said...

Indeed, time is the one resource we cannot store or save for later use. This means it's wise to invest it in those purposes and values that matter most.