“Don’t count time, make time count” – as seen in the Graffiti comic strip.
Do you often count time, looking every few minutes at your watch, the clock, or your smartphone to see if time has passed so that you can be somewhere else or be doing something else or be with someone else? When you count time like that you are just wasting it. Better to focus on the task the place or the person at hand and make your time count.
Sometimes in church I’ll see people looking at their watches to see how much more time is left before the service is over. I doubt that they are contemplating or absorbing the message the pastor is trying to deliver. Sometimes I catch myself trying to politely end a conversation with someone that I apparently would rather not be talking with. And, I guess all of us have had moments at work or while doing a household chore that we hope will be over soon, so that we can do something more fun (or at least what we hope will be more fun). We are counting time, and not making time count.
During those times I’m not living in the moment; I’m not exploring the situation for interesting things to learn (in fact I’m not learning at all); I’m not giving that person the attention that they deserve (the attention that I would think I deserved if I had initiated the conversation); I’m not making time count. It’s not only rude to the person involved, but a missed opportunity to learn more about them and what it is they are trying to share with you.
The crazy thing is that so much of what we are in a hurry to scurry off and do is really meaningless and of less value than what we are so anxious to blow off. Is checking your email or text messages really more important than having a discussion with a friend, a relative or an acquaintance? Is it imperative that you immediately respond to that little sound that indicates that you have a new email or text message? Is the latest post to Twitter or Facebook of more importance than finishing your work for the day? How perversely distorted our lives have become if that is the case.
I have to admit that I am as addicted to having my smartphone with me at all times as anyone. I’ve experienced the panic-attack response to discovering half way to somewhere that’s I’ve inadvertently left it behind. I’ve experienced the ghost buzzes in my pocket that seem to indicate that my phone needs my attention. And I’ve experienced both side of a butt-dial call. What does my phone know that I don’t, I’ve sometimes wondered?
I have discovered that life goes on when I forget my phone, albeit steeped in anxiety that I’m somehow missing something – some call, some email, some text or some importance. During those times I try to focus upon the moment and make my time away from my phone count. I have noticed that I do not have the same anxiety every night when I turn it off to go to bed. Perhaps my need for rest is stronger than my perceived need for connectivity. Then, again, I know that the system and my phone will be patiently collecting and saving anything that comes in overnight, so that I can spend my morning getting caught up.
Perhaps we need to look at all of the moments in life the same way – that the stuff on our phone (or anywhere else) will wait until later and we should focus on what’s at hand. No matter what it is or where it is or with whom it is; if you say to yourself, “this is the most important thing in my life right now”; you can make the time count. Do the task or job, experience the place that you are in or enjoy the person that you are with right now. Imagine if you will that this is the last thing that you will ever do in life. Wouldn’t you at least want to enjoy it? You can, if you make your time count. Have a great day and don’t count every minute; make every minute count.