I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to manage time. I was an early convert to Daytimers. I drank from the Steven Covey fountain. I wanted to be more efficient and more effective. I knew the saying that “each of us has all the time there is,” and I wanted to use every minute as wisely as I could.
In my early years, I thought there would be no limit to how much I could do, as long as I kept increasing my efficiency. There was no limit to the number of opportunities that could be seized for the Kingdom. Time could be leveraged, managed, prioritized, reallocated, extended…you get my drift.
But a great deal has changed over the years. In my quest to do more, I think I enjoyed the “doing” less. In the flurry to do the next thing or be with the next person, I didn’t enjoy the present thing or person. I had time to remember, but did not take time to reflect. I got more done, but did it include doing the “right” things?
I don’t think the direction of my journey is uncommon. But I hope it is a bit more extreme in its change of course, though I still find myself back “on the wheel” (the hamster wheel, that is) sometimes. I think I found too much of my identity in being productive. I know Genesis 1:28 calls me to “rule over the earth and subdue it,” but I think I found my life in the creating rather than the Creator. Therefore, my goal now is doing less rather than more; doing what is best rather than just accomplishing more tasks.
Looking back, I am grateful for the fact that I valued my time, although I wish I would have evaluated it differently. Too often I was a man on a mission, rather than a man in the moment.
I have regrets for the times I was more focused on the next person or project, instead of enjoying the present, or for the times I was running so fast I couldn’t make my body slow down in order to sleep. But most of all, I regret the moments of being present I missed with those I love and cherish the most. I accomplished a great deal, but at a cost.
To me, time was something to be managed wisely to be both efficient and effective. Sitting here in my sixties, I wish I would have seen it as something to be savored, more like the moment of a sunrise or sunset or the feeling of a gentle wind before a storm.
It’s true: each of us has all the time there is. I see that time differently now, and I want to savor it, to milk it. I want to be present in today, even if it is a lot like yesterday.
Palmer Trice is an ordained Presbyterian minister. He is married to Lynne, has three children and has been in Charlotte since 1979. In his spare time, Palmer enjoys golf, tennis, walking and reading.
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