I’m running out of time. I don’t have time. There’s not enough time. Time goes too slow. Time goes too fast. I have time to kill.
So the busy among us lament. And most of us are busy. So busy we don’t have time to think, play, or remember to pick up the milk.
Pretty much, we see time as our adversary.
Today, after a year of meaning to do it, I finally attended a Creative Morning/Baltimore gathering. Katie Boyts presented to a rapt audience of about 80 people (I think, I’m a lousy crowd estimator). She got me thinking differently about time.
Yeah, sure someday we will all run out of time, and that’s the end of us. But why dwell on a fact that we can’t change? Time, she suggests (referencing baker and cookbook author Ken Forkish), is an ingredient that influences outcome. Time can be our friend, our collaborative partner, a gift that gives us power to make a difference.
Just as we don’t need a set amount of time to make bread, we don’t need a set amount of time to create. Less time and you get a more tangy bread, more time and it turns out milder. Less time and you might get more focused and productive. More time might lead to a more satisfactory product. Or not. There’s no absolute correlation between time and outcome, Katie posited.
I don’t think that everything can be done well quickly. But I get what she’s saying. Collaborating with time is a whole different mindset than battling with or managing time.
Collaborating implies mutual respect. It involves sharing power, resources and rewards. Battling implies that one side wins and the other loses. Managing suggests one side is in charge and the other complies with the manager’s decisions. As I consider this, I don’t see how time can ever lose a battle or that it will ever comply with our directions. I think we’re better off dropping our adversarial stance towards time.
What would life look like if time was my friend, not my adversary? I wouldn’t try to cram too much into any one day or week, because that’s not how I treat my friends. I would accept that I don’t have power over time. I would respect time as a resource. I would not try to kill time. I would ask time to help me tend to what matters most. I would delight in the time that I have. I would give thanks for time.
What would change for you if time was your friend?