Time; How Much Have You Got?

“I’ll get around to that one day.”

“I can do it tomorrow”.

“That’s important sure, but I’ve got lots of time.”

So how much time do you have and how can you be so sure? Honestly, you don’t know how much time you’ve got; none of us do. Generally speaking, when we’re young we don’t even think about how much time we’ve got, we just enjoy the here and now. As we move into our teens we start looking a few years ahead – milestones like getting a driver’s licence, graduating from high school, our first jobs, plans for the upcoming weekends have us looking ahead, but not too far down the road. Soon we look into the future and see the day we’ll move out, maybe plan a wedding date, think about having children, a better job, etc.

Fast-forward a bit and we’re suddenly much more appreciative of the concept of time; but we still believe we have lots left. For the first time we start seriously regretting some of our previous choices. Sure we might have regretted things in our childhood, but it’s hard thinking of any major decisions we made that had long-lasting implications. Ah, but as a teenager or young adult, we’d go back if we could and take back some of the things we said, actions we took, hurt we caused.

Some of those regrets might even be preventing us from doing things we’d like today. Dropping out of high school or taking college-level courses instead of university prep courses . Who would have thought we’d change our minds and actually want to go to University? Didn’t see that coming!

In the latter stages of our lives, we’ll hopefully look back and not have too many regrets; if we don’t, we’ll have lived a life worth living we assume. Maybe we’ll have made a difference in the world, had a big extended family, seen the world, lived in the dream condo or home we pictured as a young adult. Who knows? Depends what we consider important enough. One thing seems pretty clear now: the older we became, the more we appreciated the saying, “Time flies.” Where did it go?

Of course you’ll have noticed I skipped over the 30 – 75 or so time period. Rather a large part of one’s life to skip! You might figure that 45 year period or so is enough time to make some readjustments, mend some mistakes, figure a few things out that we thought we had right. Maybe we have that time and maybe – just maybe we don’t. What if life expires at 33? 53? 96? 25? Time is one thing we haven’t solved – how much of it is ours to spend.

How we perceive time decides whether we see ourselves as having a lot or a little. I could show you two people – each 32 years old, and one would tell you she’s too old to head on back to school; that time has robbed her of that choice. The other would say she’s going back to school because it’s the rest of her life in front of her and that’s a lot of life to live. How can they both see things so differently? Perception.

How we perceive Time (the big one with a capital, ‘T’) becomes our reality. We might figure – YOU might figure to be more accurate – that time is one thing you’ve got a lot of. Because you can’t know with any certainty how much you’ve got, why worry about it? Just enjoy things in the here and now. What’s so wrong with figuring it will all end in our 80’s or 90’s so there’s no rush to choose a career, save for the future, start a retirement savings plan or fix that relationship. As Mick and the boys sang, “Time is on my side.”

Hmm… imagine you’re in a gift store and you spot some hourglasses. The sand is yellow, green, blue, etc. and catches your eye. Each holds a finite amount of sand, and there’s a multitude to choose from; 1 minute, 3 minute, 10 minute timers. You choose one you like and whatever one you chose, you get no more or less than the contained amount. Life is like that – except we are given the timer without knowing how much sand we’ve got in our hourglass. When it runs out, it runs out. The only thing wrong with the analogy? You can flip the hourglass over again and again and it goes on and on. When your life timer runs down, there is no flip.

Imaging we have a lot of time left to live can be wonderful as we plan for the future. It can motivate us to get going and start working to achieve our long-term goals. However, think back to school where the teacher gave you some essay to write and you figured you had weeks to get it done. You put it off for precisely that reason didn’t you? Then as it dawned on you that the deadline was looming, you got down to work – you had to – and you pulled it off. Sometimes therefore, believing we have a lot of time left can hinder and not help us get going.

Whether you feel any urgency to get going on your goals is entirely your business. Put off getting started at your own choosing but realize time might rob you of that chance – or rather, you might rob yourself.



Contemplating The BIG Questions

“I’ve got to find out what my purpose is in life before it’s too late.”

“What am I supposed to do with my life?”

“Sure I want to have a meaningful life. How do I do that?”

These questions, and others that are similar to them, are questions of the very best kind. But they’re tough questions to answer aren’t they?  I mean these are the really big ones; the “what is the purpose of life anyways?” kind of questions.

Some people hold the belief that each of us come to this world to accomplish some pre-determined objective. They call this fate or destiny. No matter what path we take to get to it, wherever we end up and whatever we do along the way to our end is out of our control. While we may think we are acting of our own free will, we are destined for whatever happens to us and things are largely beyond our control. If we make a huge change in our lives and appear to be changing direction, we are simply following a pre-set plan.

On the other hand, many people hold the belief that we are responsible for choosing whatever we do with the time we spend on Earth; that we have free choice and choose what we do with our lives. It’s this freedom to choose for ourselves what we do, how we spend our time that both excites and confuses us. If we look ahead to the end our lives, we can imagine ourselves either happy with how we’ve spent our time and thankful for the choices we made, or we imagine lamenting the passage of time, having wasted ours with the poor choices we made.

If you believe you have control over how you live your life, then the really big question of what to do with it becomes both fascinating and one of great responsibility. This question and others like it are the kind of questions that are asked best when you’re lying on the crest of a hill, under a canopy of stars on a summer’s night.

Hang on a second. That’s one scenario sure, but this is the kind of question that also forms in the minds of people walking down crowded city streets, sitting in the rear of taxi cabs, and by people trapped in cubicles working in offices every single day! I mean, haven’t YOU said to yourself more than once, “Is this it? Is this me for the rest of my life, sitting here at this desk, pushing this pen around, tapping on this keyboard? Was I really brought into this world to put nuts on these bolts day after day, year after year?” And haven’t you wondered, “What else is there for me to do? Is this really living?”

Well, not all of us can pack in our jobs and charter a three-masted galleon and explore the world for lost islands and new civilizations. Nor have we all the inclination or the resources to search for and discover Atlantis, colonize Jupiter, discover the cure for Cancer, create the winning design for the flag of Utopia, or make first contact with the inhabitants of some inter-planetary life forms. Well, finding Atlantis would be pretty cool, but some of us probably don’t even like water on our faces let alone submerge ourselves thousands of feet beneath the surface.

So really, what would make us happy is largely an individual thing. And here I raise another essential question. In terms of what to do with our lives is there only one thing that would make us happy, or are there numerous things that would bring us satisfaction? I mean if there is only a single job or career that would ignite this passion everybody talks about, well, that’s a lot of pressure considering the clock of life never pauses. On the other hand, if there is more than one single thing in this world that would excite us, fuel us, motivate us to feel happy and content, we’ve got a better chance of figuring out what that is. And if I expand on that, what if there are not just a few but many different ways to spend our lives, and in each of those many ways we would feel we’ve achieved a manner of success? That relieves some pressure to get it right!

Now, none of us know exactly how long our time on Earth is, nor do we know the state of our mental and physical health down the road. Time, health, available resources, opportunities, luck – all of us have in varying amounts. Perhaps instead of asking, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” – Predicated on the premise that there is only a single thing we will be – what if we asked, “What experiences would you like to have?”

Experiences we would like to have can morph, evolve, come into our consciousness, become less or greater priorities, shift with our age, health, finances. The people we meet introduce us to new possibilities; those we choose to share our lives with have their own dreams and plans too.

What you choose to experience during your life, with whatever time you have is largely up to you. If you knew you had another fifty years, what would you do? Would you answer differently if you only had another 7 months? Why?

Time To Talk About Time

Time; its the same number of seconds, minutes and hours for everyone and each day contains the same finite amount for each of us, excepting leap years and if you live in a zone where clocks are twice annually adjusted. So why is it that some people have all the time in the world, and others never seem to have enough time?

As the quantity of time is a set amount, it would appear that those whom are busiest with many things to do would often be the ones complaining about not having enough of it, and yet this is not the case. There is a very real and true axiom that goes, “if you want something done ask someone busy to do it”.

People who are busy have one exceptionally well-developed skill, and that is the ability to schedule and manage their list of things to do in order that they not be running around but not getting much actually done. They have electronic gadgets in which they enter their appointments, their tasks, projects and any upcoming events that might impede on their ability to accomplish things.

Now contrast that with the person – and maybe you know them intimately – who tends to have a more relaxed schedule, not too much on the go that they can’t handle, and yet when something comes up that they are asked to do, they seldom seem to be able to rise to the challenge. In their home life it might mean that they suddenly have that, “I have no idea what to make for dinner” moment at 4:30 p.m. – but they experience it four times a week. At work, they may be the kind that comes to meetings unprepared because it took a casual, “What time is the meeting today?” comment from a co-worker half an hour before the scheduled get-together.

These are the kind of people who usually don’t put things in their work calendar’s, but jot things down on paper at the meeting and then the next day, neglect to transfer that note into their agenda. Projects they are responsible for may get moved down on their daily to-do list until they have to be done rather than planned in advance with sufficient time to ensure all steps are taken in a ‘timely’ manner.

Now these seemingly unorganized people aren’t bad by nature, and in fact may be some of the most well-meaning people at your workplace. They just have underdeveloped organizational skills that require some constant effort to refine and hone. The question then becomes, as they knowingly have a weakness or deficiency, what are they doing to improve upon it so that as a weakness, it diminishes. Most employers will tolerate a weakness in their employees, but expect those same employees to improve upon those areas if they will mean increased proficiency and productivity.

Now time itself is what people use as an excuse; “I’d love to go to the gym but I don’t have time”, or “The kids are growing so fast, Where did the time go?” Well if your aren’t being living in self-conscious awareness, you too might find that things seemingly happen without your knowledge until you realize some huge gap of time has flown by. But actually, what has happened is that you the person made different decisions about how to spend the time you had, and those decisions have repercussions. Now you’re talking priorities.

At work, your priorities can be simple things like three of your closest co-worker friends going out for lunch and inviting you. There’s a choice to be made between what you want, (the social lunch inclusion), and the need, (getting something accomplished). If you consistently make choices to pass on the friends and get work done, you may find yourself invited less often, but be viewed as dedicated. To it’s extreme, you might even find others questioning your ability to do your work in the time allotted, if they quantity of work, and the time to do it are the same for everyone.

Conversely, if you go out all the time and pull yourself aware from what must be done to indulge your social side, you may find others feel your priorities are wrong, and you won’t be handed important assignments and may be passed over and wonder why.

If you are unemployed and job searching, make efficient use of your time so that at the end of a day, you can feel proud of how you used the time you had to apply for jobs, network, follow-up, phone people, get references, look into training, revise resumes and cover letters etc.

The decisions you make while unemployed can help or hinder you even when you apply for your next job. Suppose you were asked this question: “Tell me about how you’ve been spending your time since you left your last position.” What would you say if you were being entirely honest? If you find yourself making up things to tell the spouse or extended family to put yourself in a better light than your reality, consider choosing better uses of the time you’ve got.

The clock is ticking…

Viewing Your Unemployment As A Time To Get Things Done

When you find yourself out of work, one of the best things you can do with your time in addition to job searching, is to use that time and start taking care of some of the things you’ve been let slide due to ironcially, a lack of time.

Here’s some ideas on how to take advantage of your new found unscheduled time.

1) Book a physical with your Doctor. When you visit your physician, let him or her know you are unemployed too. No not for a job lead, although that might be useful too. It gives your Doctor information about your mental health, and might explain some lethargy, change in weight etc.

2) Tackle a household job that will make your spouse happy. Doing a household job, especially one that involves only a small financial outlay, can send a message to your spouse that you appreciate their support during this unemployment. Maybe you’ve got some knicks in the wall to fill in and paint for example, or some screen doors to repair.

3) Take the kids to see a movie at the theatre. Escaping for 2 hours into some other world – especially a comedy – will keep forging bonds and memories with your children. Though impacted, children don’t always need to know the full extent of your stress and frustration. Everybody can benefit from a mental break especially if done together.

4) Get outside. Fresh air and a walk around a few blocks will help you focus better when you return to your job search. Too much time in front of a computer screen can wear you down and you’ll get tired even though you aren’t expending much physical energy. Chatting with neighbours as you go keeps you connected to those around you too.

5) PVR television shows you want to see and reward yourself by sitting back and watching them after you’ve put in a good days job search. Instead of channel surfing for 1/2 hour to see whats on, you can use that 1/2 hour to watch something you actually want to see.

6) Garage Sale. Go through your closet, the garage, the basement and find things you haven’t used in ages. Have yourself a garage sale and purge your property of items you no longer want. You’ll get some extra cash at a time when you could use it, and you’ll declutter your space at the same time. When you do land that next job, maybe you’ll buy a few things to fill up those empty spaces with new and better things.

7) Volunteer Your Time. Oddly enough, volunteering at a time when you need paid employment can be beneficial. First, it will put things in perspective for you. Others are much worse off – lend a hand. Benefits of volunteering include: new references, exploring new interests, giving back to the community, productively using your time, improving or learning new skills, networking, strengthening your resume – getting out of the house!

8) Walk Your Kids to School. Your children might be young enough to still want to hold your hand! This gets you up, out the door, and starts your day doing something that connects you to them. If you can’t walk the kids to school, at least get up and make breakfast.

9) Communicate. Don’t give your family the silent treatment so that everyone starts walking on eggshells. YOU’RE the one whose situation changed. Do your best to be upbeat. Sure you should be honest with how you feel and what you are going through however, thinking postively and not bringing doom and gloom with you as you enter the room will keep people from getting up and leaving rooms as you enter. Other people have their own issues to deal with too.

10) Do some gardening, make some music, do some writing. Spending a little bit of time beautifying your property with flowers, or planting some vegetables gives you exercise, food in the future, flowers on the table etc. Music can invigorate, soothe your tension, put a smile on your face. Writing can help you express what’s going on in that brain of yours. Share it, keep it private, but write it down and express it. Then burn it, keep it, whatever. You need it now anyway, not down the road.


Time. Reliability. Dependability. Punctuality is connected to all three.

I am always surprised, and I should be, at the number of people who wander in just a few moments after they are due to start work on a regular basis. Tthese people don’t seem to think there’s anything wrong with their behaviour, and unless they are corrected by Management, their behaviour is reinforced. Ironically, it’s the people who are usually sitting at their desk a few minutes BEFORE they are due to start and are late by a few moments who are the ones apologizing for their late arrival.

Whether you can or can’t be counted on to be at your desk prepared to work at your appointed starting time on a daily basis is entirely up to the individual, but make sure you know what is at stake. When you start a job fresh, and no one knows you, you’ll be sized up and evaluated by your new colleagues as well as Management. Can you be relied on? Will you be befriended by over achievers, enthusiastic employees, or wolves in sheeps clothing? When you first start, you may not be able to tell the difference.

Build your reputation anew whether you are starting you first day on the job or you’ve been working in your position for years. When you are sitting at your desk working away a few minutes before your starting time, you’ll score points as someone who can be counted on everyday to put in the hours and do the work. When the time comes up for transfers, promotions, special projects, etc. all other things being equal, your punctuality will be remembered as showing a solid work ethic.

Of course this punctuality also means taking no extra time at break time, and after lunch/dinner breaks. In my own situation, I travel one hour by car to get to work daily. I arrive about 20 – 30 minutes early every single day. Why? Well, once or twice a year, I’m going to run into an accident scene and be re-routed, or there will be some other delay of some kind. By allowing this extra time, I can be relied upon to be at work everyday regardless of weather, traffic, etc. and the distance I travel to work is not a factor in any future promotional hiring decision. Some of my co-workers over the years have lived within 1/2 km from work and will get dramatic when they arrived late talking about how they can’t believe they got stuck at a red light! Why? They left themselves 4 minutes to get to work!

Another group of employees I’ve worked with are the kind that show up when they are scheduled to start, but then walk around, get 3 or 4 of their co-workers together and then all walk to the local coffee shop and 15-20 minutes later, they are back and get down to work. Sure that’s a Supervisory issue, but don’t think it doesn’t go unnoticed by their teammates and creates resentment.

Punctuality….what does it mean to you?