Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Precious Commodity Called 'Space'

Space. Was your first reaction to the word accommodations? Office space? Closet or cupboard space? For many storage space is at a premium so that’s the first thing that comes to mind.

That is not the space I’m referring to. I’m talking about space of time.

I’m currently working on a Time Mastery program that looks at time. It’s not about cramming more into a day than you did before, or scheduling, using a PDA or BlackBerry. It’s about time, the concept of time and how we respect it and ourselves in relation to time. We’re in the midst of looking at leaders and how they seem to fly through their days, directing, delegating, strategizing, making decisions and yes, calling endless back to back meetings.

So I took some time to look at time and see its dynamics. I then started asking my clients what they thought of first when they heard the term “buying time”. In one way or another, the answers revolved around having more time to do things, see things, to play and shelve work for the time being. It was hearing “I wish I could clone myself so I could do more” and “I wish I had more time to…”

Truthfully it had nothing whatsoever to do with having more time or saving time so something else could be slotted into that chunk of time. Rather, what they weren’t saying but meant was they wished they had time. Extra time. Unplanned time. They wanted space….nothingness, quiet time, time to just be, to let the thoughts fly in any direction, to think, imagine and explore possibility.

They wanted creative time, time to conceptualize, to strategize, to play, learn, and get to know others. They wanted time to unwind and relax. Many had forgotten how. They couldn’t remember the last time they just relaxed or didn’t rush to do something else in that tiny bit of time that appeared unexpectedly. They felt guilty if they took time for themselves, so they didn’t. Instead they did something for someone else or worked. Time, 'space', is such a precious commodity, heaven forbid they couldn’t waste it! And was doing nothing or planning nothing during that short period actually be wasting time or valuing it and themselves? Relaxing? What’s that? They didn’t remember how to relax. They were wired all the time, literally and figuratively.

People don’t know how to do nothing. They forgot how.

"Slow down and enjoy life. It's not the only the scenery you miss by going to fast-you also miss the sense of where you are going and why." -Eddie Cantor

Donna Karlin

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