Time Out

Ever wonder where the days go?

Get to work, pour your first coffee, barrel through emails and to-dos and post-its and start to work. If the phone rings, forget it, you’re done-for. Get off-track and you’re off for good.

Get in the car, meet someone for lunch. Perhaps it’s a client who’s also a friend, and you kill two birds with one stone. (I always wondered at that phrase – why would you want to kill even one bird, and with a stone? Wow, great aim.)

You linger over the second coffee of the day because somehow the cream in the little white mini-pitcher at the restaurant, which has just been renovated and reopened for business under a new name just tastes a little better than the cream in your refrigerator at home.

Before you know it, an hour and a half has passed and you’re back in your car and headed to the next meeting. Or back to the office. Or to pick up the kids.

And another day unfolds as it always will.

Ever since I returned from India, I’ve committed to not beginning my work day before 10 a.m. Most days, I hold to this, and I start by exercising or taking a brisk walk in the fresh gray air or reading something inspirational. So by 10, I am ready. For whatever will come at me throughout the day.

If I begin my day with meditation, even better. I know it sounds woo-woo, but it works. Fifteen or 20 minutes of focused silence, clearing out the muck, transforms a person.

And a day.

We have these modules of time, in neat little compartments. Twenty-four hours or 12 hours or whatever increments you want to take it in.

They are blank canvasses. Just time, spread in seconds and minutes and hours. The sun rises and it becomes light, the sun sets and it becomes dark, and still time comes and it goes.

What we fill it with is up to us.

Whining, complaining or bitterness? Not my cup of coffee.

Gratitude, passion and enthusiasm? Better yet.

I’m going to suggest that a box of time should include equal parts fresh air and sunshine, quiet, solitude and deep thinking, and connection with a small number of good people.

Everything else that you add in, it doesn’t matter. When you are grounded with these foundational components of a good life, everything goes smoothly.

Without one key element, you are in trouble. You may not notice it at first. You may sail through the day and finish on a high for signing a deal or welcoming a new client or celebrating a child’s A+ math test.

But string together too many of those sightless days and you’ll see what I mean. Emptiness and dark tunneling despair. A sense of what am I doing with my life? A wondering of what it all means and why you’re on the hamster wheel and a yearning to get off.

Try it. Begin with something of meaning and end with it too. Follow the greats and turn off your technology 2 hours before bed and see what a difference it makes. Sleep in supreme silence and categorize your dreaming. Cling to the dreams as if a lifeline. Tell the stories you haven’t had time to tell.

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