Having been born “BI” (before internet), I see people frantically texting away and sometimes wonder how they would have survived “back in the day,” when “texting” involved a 30-pound typewriter, messy correction fluid or an eraser, a trip to the post office, standing in line to buy a stamp, waiting a week or two for the letter to get to its destination, and waiting another week or two for a reply.
Why is everyone so darn busy? Today even my auto rickshaw driver was multitasking, negotiating a business deal on his mobile phone while navigating city traffic. Was he even old enough to remember when making a phone call in public meant hunting down a phone booth, having the right change, and feeding more coins into the phone if the call went longer than three minutes?
What I want to know is where does all the time go that we save by not having to go through all that? Shouldn’t we be swimming in leisure time, thanks to all of our time-saving modern marvels?
Is it simply a matter of poor time management? Good advice abounds: Prioritize. Delegate. Do difficult tasks first. Clear your life of clutter. Learn to say no. …
But there is more to it than that. Sometimes it’s not a question of what we are doing, but of what we are becoming. As the Indian sage Rabindranath Tagore put it, “He who is too busy doing good finds no time to be good.”
How can we slow things down a bit and enjoy life more, while still doing everything that really needs to get done?
The other day I was leaving for a meeting when my granddaughter grabbed my hand and asked excitedly, “Can I show you the new steps I learned in dance class?”
Before I could blurt out, “Sorry, I’m too busy. Show me another time,” my mind fast-forwarded five years and I heard her say as she rushed out the door, “Sorry, Gramps! I’m too busy being a teen.”
“Sure,” I said. “Show me your moves.”
Five minutes of vigorous dancing and continuous applause later, I left for my meeting feeling less stressed and more optimistic.
I had found my answer. If we take time to stop and smell the flowers, their scent will linger with us throughout the day, reminding us that there’s more to life than rushing to the next thing.
- Curtis Peter van Gorder, courtesy of Activated magazine.
According to a report in The Express newspaper of Easton, Pennsylvania, studies done by the consulting firm Priority Management show that “the average married couple spends four minutes a day in meaningful conversation, and the working couple spends 30 seconds a day talking with their children.”
Says the firm’s president, Michael Fortino: “Most people say their families are important, but they don’t live that way.”