For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the
eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.
– Doug LarsonPhoto credit: Alexander Boden
We began to explore the reality check of time last week when I invited you to think about two ideas:
- We don’t know what will happen tomorrow … we’re not really in control
- Life is brief … value each day
Leaders recognize the responsibility to lead their own lives before trying to lead others. To understand and value time is helpful. When we live as if today is all we have we could begin to see the people and seize the moment.
What is really flying?
As we embrace the reality check of time this idea that “time flies” surfaces.
When was the last time you said something about time flying? How often do you feel rushed or like you can’t get things done?
Logically, we know time is consistent; it is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries for all of us … so what’s going on?
Professor Nancy Darling blogging on PsychologyToday.com writes about our experience with time. She points out several theories related to why we may think “time flies”.
- Fewer new things happen later in life
- Years are proportionally smaller to the whole of life lived
- Our biological clock slows down
- We miss external clues indicating the passing of time
To read more on these theories you can go here.
Additional research by Dr. William Friedman and his colleague, Steve Janssen is cited, too; here are their conclusions – what do you think?
First, the busier you are, the faster time seems to fly by. These results are robust across all ages.
Second, EVERYONE feels time is flying by. On average, on a scale from -2 (very slowly) to +2 (very fast), people of ALL AGES judged time to be passing fast (rating it higher than 1).
Third, age differences were very small, and almost entirely limited – as had been found in the previous study – to the perception of how fast the last 10 years had gone by.
These findings…all come to the same conclusion:
Does Time Fly When You’re Getting Old?
Not really, no. But it does fly by when you feel rushed and can’t get things done. (Emphasis added)
When asked why, then, older people seem to feel like time was rushing by faster now than it was when they were younger, Dr. Friedman had two answers.
First, he suggested, this is such a strong folk belief that people report what they think they’re expected to feel.
More importantly, perhaps, he suggested that maybe as we get older, we just don’t remember how rushed we felt when we were young.
What’s it costing us to fly?
Yesterday, I had an unusual day; some would say call it a “funk”. I’ll spare you the details but it was not my normal, ask anyone that knows me. So, what happened?
As I reflected on my previous week I flew through my week and not with Southwest Airlines. We were out of town over the weekend, I had back-to-back early morning appointments, and consistently went to sleep late; don’t ask what I think Daylight Savings Time.
The pace of my week was out of control. My commitment to create space to take care of my mind, body, and spirit was disrupted. There was a price to pay, including lost productivity as I closed out my week.
- What if it’s not a misguided belief that follows all the talk about how rushed we feel?
- What if it’s really not about a fading memory of life a few years back?
- What if it really is the pace we choose to live?
That’s right, it’s the pace we choose to live.
As I reviewed my schedule last week I made choices that displaced my time for reflection. Could I have done some things differently? Certainly, and it is my responsibility, no matter how crazy life is at times.
When was the last time you heard someone brag on how rested they feel? When was the last time you celebrated a “normal” workweek? What’s that, what would people think?
Here’s the real question: What’s it costing you to let life’s pace drive your day?
Having influence … with your life
What is one thing you could choose to change in order to create space for reflection? What is ONE thing you can do … read that book for 15 minutes, over lunch? Say “No” to … ?
What ONE action will help you take control of the pace and get your feet back on the ground?