Time may fly but good planning empowers you to control the speed, direction and destination
November 21, 2016
"Time and tide wait for no man", which sadly is a reality of life and something to consider when you are making plans or maybe, not making plans. All of us have a need to do things and time is the thief that can stop us or just put obstacles in our way that can result in a perpetual holding pattern of nothingness.
I'm not a great fan of time or the reminders of time that can surround us. I have never worn a watch as I find the constant face reminding me both stifling and anxiety-provoking. I realised recently that even the two clocks I have in my home are both obscured, so I know they are there when I need to know the time, though I don't have the constant reminder in my line of vision.
I know I can't control time and kid myself that I only let it enter my life when I need it, usually by looking at my mobile phone or clicking on the TV programmer button to check what time it is. I've also come to like the way the TV programmer has time controlled in little pockets of activity and I can move forward and back and use the Remind Me or Record buttons, so I can delegate the responsibility of managing my time.
However, not liking time and avoiding clocks doesn't make me a bad planner. In fact, it's made me a more pragmatic and organised person in being prepared; separating out what is important and urgent... most of the time!
I had a client who introduced me to the saying "There is nothing like a hanging to focus the mind" and I have found this to be very true. There are definitely some activities that I find myself springing into action at the 11th hour, though still delivering a quality solution, because what I have come to realise is that my lack of physical action does not mean I've been doing nothing.
I like to have time for reflection, gather more information to help inform my actions and I've become more comfortable with experience and age to just hold onto that open space, idea or call to action, whilst it simmers away in my unconsciousness.
The art of planning is a very powerful tool that gives you control over time and helps avoid those moments of 11th hour anxiety. In the busy lives we lead, planning can give us back the gift of time to spend it wisely doing things of true value to us.
I can't help but smile when I think back to being a big sister helping my six year old brother, at the time, do his homework. He read out his homework project:
Preparation: get a large piece of blank paper, a pencil, a ruler and a saucer and using the pencil, map the circumference of the saucer on the piece of blank paper, put a dot in the middle of the circle and then write in the numbers 1 - 12 to make the face of a clock.
Task: on the face of the clock, write in what time you had dinner.
This all made sense to me, and I knew he understood time as he would regularly answer when I asked him, as he had a watch. So with encouragement I asked him if he knew what to do and he said "kind of".... So he put the saucer down on the paper and then criss-crossing over his hands, he drew the circle and put a big dot in the centre. He stopped and looked at me and asked where the numbers should go and I jumped in pointing to where he should write the 1 and told him to evenly write 2-12 in even spaces, so the 12 would be at the top. Off he went, completing the task. He asked if that was correct and I said yes and he asked me what the ruler was for and I said "for making sure the lines are straight when you write the time." He smiled and then asked mam, who was preparing our dinner, what time tea would be and she said: "When your dad gets in", which in our house was a time in itself or code for 6pm, which meant we sat to eat dinner five minutes later. Oh, and in most homes in Ireland, tea = dinner. So I then watched my brother write 6:05pm on the paper... with a square box carefully drawn around it using the ruler, to the right of the circle.
I was confused and said "you need to write the time with the hands on the clock" and he looked up at me with great confusion and asked: "What do you mean? What hands? And I have written the time."
We went back and forth for a while and he pointed to the 6:05pm in the box and said, "That's the time we'll have tea" and I said, "that's true, though your homework was to write it on the clock" and again he looked confused and innocent and said "that's what I've done" and showed me his little A-Team watch on his arm. Ah... the penny dropped for me and I said, "yes, that's right for your digital watch, though your homework is also to do it the traditional way with the hands on the clock face."
Well, now I could see more than confusion, I could see a look of "who is this crazy person" looking back at me and he said: "I've no idea what you mean... Hands on faces? WHAT? "
I have to admit and I'm ashamed to say, for a few moments there I wondered about his intelligence! So I pointed to the clock on the wall and said to him "write the time on the paper like the clock on the wall" and he looked at the clock on the wall and back at me and said "Is that what that is?" and I looked at him, as he does have a wicked sense of humour, even back then and I said, "Are you joking? Yes that's the clock on the wall, just like the one on the paper that you've drawn."
He looked at the wall clock and the paper and nodded with some level of understanding and asked me: "How does it work?" By now I realised I might be in over my head and looked to our mam to help with her son and first asked "if you didn't know that was a clock, what did you think it was" and then came his killer line that I still think of when I look at a clock... "Oh, I thought that was a moving picture..."
Even though there are only nine years between us, he had grown up in the digital era and we both learned a good lesson that day: he learned that the moving picture was a clock with hands and another tool or way to tell time and I learned that time is just a moving picture and we can chose alternatives and still have the same outcome. Tea will be at 6:05pm or 5 past 6...