Harnessing Time

Time is like the wind, an endless source of power and energy if only we can harness it instead of letting it blow us around.

It seems like everybody’s struggling with time these days. Life is going faster and faster. Our jobs are demanding, our kids need to be driven to violin lessons and soccer and a million other activities, there are emails that need to be answered and the Internet and Facebook and Twitter and a whole lot of other things competing for our time and attention. It’s hard to find time to deal with all that day-to-day stuff, not to mention to make any progress accomplishing the sorts of big things that make us feel good about ourselves and give our lives meaning. It’s easy for those big things to get swept up and lost in the whirlwind of all the ordinary little things that feel so urgent in our daily lives. Time slips away from us, we get anxious or depressed or guilty because we can’t get hold of time, can’t find time to do what we feel like we should do, need to do, and we lose track of what we really want to do.

On the other hand, time is a resource we all have. It doesn’t cost anything, you don’t have to earn it, nobody gives it to you and nobody can take it away from you. It’s a simple basic thing that we all have and we all have choices, more or less anyway, about how to use it. I heard President Obama talking on the radio about harnessing the wind — he said that the wind is a cheap, ever-renewable, ever-available source of energy if we can only do what it takes to harness it. And I thought that time is like that too; like the wind, time is always there, freely available, an endless source of power and energy if only we can harness it instead of letting it blow us around.

I’ve been working with time in my own life for many years — first and foremost as a writer who needs to make space for writing among the crowd of daily tasks and other people’s needs that always seem to call out to me so demandingly and in ever-increasing numbers. In recent years my life has diversified and I’ve had to work even harder at fitting writing into my day along with everything else I’ve got going, and as a result I’ve learned a lot about time and how to harness it. I’ve learned about the power of consciously making space in my day for whatever I need or want to get done; about accomplishing big goals by taking small steps; about taking life a day at a time and letting go of whatever’s outside of the boundaries of today.

And I’ve learned that harnessing time is not just about fitting everything into my day that I need and want to do. It’s about not fitting things in too, about creating space to not do things – space for silence and rest and emptiness, for filling back up and recharging. And it’s about becoming mindful of what I’m doing while I’m doing it, so I can notice and enjoy the activities of my day instead of just writing them on a list and then doing them, nervously, joylessly, painfully. Harnessing time is about using my intuition, listening to my deepest inner voice and paying attention to what it has to tell me about what I do and don’t want to do. And harnessing time is about working with boundaries, making decisions about what and how much I do with and for other people so I can make more room for myself. It’s about making space for myself and nurturing myself on a daily basis, getting peaceful and happy with the decisions I make every day about how I spend my day, about accomplishing big goals as well as small goals, taking small steps to accomplish big goals. It’s about knowing what I want in life and doing something on a daily basis to get it.

For more about Harnessing Time go to www.harnessing-time.blogspot.com