Don’t you love this quote! How simple is that? Great wisdom often sounds simple but we all know that it takes a ton of life experience and soulful reflection for us to truly get it! So, have you heard? The New Luxury is Time. Pretty funny for my generation, because status was always equated with a full calendar and a Palm Pilot! This became the ‘culture’ and was carried over into family life with kids too. Today there is a good spirited discussion going on about whether you should be filling every minute of your kid’s time with ‘activity’. I’m not going to get into that but I do like to step back and observe what is going on in our culture.
There is so much that contributes to the ‘mindset’ of any culture and we certainly can’t ignore that socio-economic factors definitely play a big part in what flies or dies in our culture. Before we hit an economic crisis a few years ago, we were able to negotiate money and time. In good times we looked for a raise and in weaker economies we looked for more vacation time. Now post 2008 crisis, many juggle 3 and 4 jobs or ‘gigs’, and time is another issue altogether. The author Daniel Pink coined this trend with the title of his book ‘Free Agent Nation’ and now we are all entrepreneurs putting a monetary value on our time. If some of us are still working full-time for one company, the eight-hour workday is less common for most, and work is often dragged home for evenings and weekends. Yes time is a luxury…
The time is money concept has been around a long time, especially in our western culture. No big surprise there. Just look at the following quotes and we pretty much can see how conflicted our ideas about time are.
- “Remember, that time is money.” ~Benjamin Franklin
- “Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.” ~Thomas Edison
- “Whether it’s the best of times, or the worst of times, it’s the only time we got.” ~Art Buchwald
- “Time is more valuable than money, we can get more money, but we can’t get more time.” ~Jim Rohn
- “Your time is limited, so don’t waste your time living someone else’s life.” ~Steve Jobs
Oh the list goes on. Let me just add a few prolific lines from the Rolling Stones song ‘Time Waits for No-One’
‘Yes, star-crossed in pleasure the stream flows on by
Yes, as we’re sated in leisure, we watch it fly..
Hours are like diamonds, don’t let them waste.’
How do we view time? Well right now, it’s becoming a luxury for many socio-economical reasons. And the answer to that question really depends on who you ask. The one thing we all can really point to is ‘technology’. The advancement of technology has changed our ‘culture’ and our ‘lifestyles’ forever. For better or for worse? If I had to answer, I would say both. In some ways it feels like the digital age is sucking the life out of us! This is my perspective and it does reflect my age as well. I can’t deny the age factor because I lived through the ‘before’ and ‘after’ of the digital age.
The adaptive side of me, wants to believe that it’s all in how you ‘manage’ technology. If you have a strong mind and manage your time, you should be able to do the same with technology. Right? Well just think about the hours you spent setting up your computer, TV or phone for that matter. Or just fixing a ‘problem’ with one of them.
People blame ‘fat people’ for getting fat but our ‘food culture’ and ‘industry’ here in the Unites States pretty much created our heath crisis. It happened in increments and before you knew it, eating badly and ‘too much’ became the norm. I had to stick this in here, because what we say yes to, and what we say no to is a big deal. Our decisions become our culture. Choose wisely…
I’m for creating and nurturing a ‘wellness culture’. Everything begins with core-values, and that is why Tolkien’s quote leads this post. Only you can know what to do with your time, and it will ultimately be based on your values. What really matters to you?
For many lucky people ( guess this might be debatable) , family determines and ‘spends’ your time. Equally, many people have found their vocations and love what they do for a living. Work doesn’t feel like work and I call this being a ‘Passioneer’. Hope you come follow this department at WWB , because it will at the very least inspire you to find your passion and purpose. Both of these ‘experiences’ are valuable because we feel connected to our life and we find meaning.
Regardless of your lifestyle we all need to recharge and I don’t mean your smart phone! As technology has sped up our lives, we now more than ever need to ‘slow down’. We need to get back to being ‘human’. It turns out that eating real food ( not processed) is crucial to our health and sleeping at least seven hours ( for most) is too. I did a wonderful interview with the Carl Honoré author of ‘In Praise of Slowness’ and more recently ‘The Slow Fix. Carl believes the Western world’s emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. He was right to predict there would be a backlash and a movement toward living slower. Check out his TedTalk below, and see if you don’t relate to many of his experiences. I certainly agree with his prescriptions to gain back our sense of equilibrium.
The slow movement in todays culture has manifested in all aspects of our lives. From the slow food movement, to our love affair with yoga, zen and meditation, we are trying to slow down. I don’t know if you must practice these things to find your peace, but they certainly can help alot. Maybe like any other bad habit we have to take small steps to getting back to healthy lifestyle. Here are a few tips to help you keep your inner peace as a ‘human’, and I hope it will encourage you to use your time a little more wisely…
Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary—one that’s used solely for relaxation. With more revelations that the light from electronic devices can actually disturb your sleep, consider banishing electronics from your bedroom altogether. Once you reclaim your bedroom, you might be surprised to find that your bedroom is a place to make love, dream, and recharge.
Try a Digital Detox Diet and Eat More Mindfully
The dinner table is another place where phones and computers can intrude on life. Not only can distracted eating lead to things like weight gain, but depriving yourself of the chance to savor your food and your company can deprive you of a true human experience. When your electronics interferes with conversation or the exploration of different sensations, flavors, and textures, your mind doesn’t have a chance to ‘play’. The stressed, always-on state that results can lead to burnout. Just this week there was an important article in the New York Times entitled ‘Screen addiction is taking its toll on children’. I think it may be taking its toll on everyone! Food for thought anyway…
Sign Off For Awhile, and Be Out of Touch
Remember how boredom felt when you were a kid? Well, some of us do! We played outside, delved into our journals and layed on our beds listening to records in an attempt to stave of what felt like endless hours alone. It’s harder than ever to attain that state as an always connected and entertained adult. Why not try to restore that experience with some scheduled off time? Start slow, if need be, but practice time away from the digital screens. Make sure your devices are off and kept away where you can’t give in to temptation. You might find, short of any emergency, that everyone got along without you and you are feeling a little more relaxed.
The author of the ‘ The Slow Fix’ shared this interesting tech story about SLOW-TV. Don’t laugh! I love the photo image he used. Really captures what our world is coming to! As he shares in his post, this is the direction we are moving in. Technology can be used to help us relax after it has whipped us into chaotic distraction! Choices my friends. Remember you always choices…
EXCERPT: Another Scandinavian TV revolution will sweep across British screens this week. Only this time there will be no grisly murders, imploding families or detectives in woolly jumpers. This time not much will happen at all. Instead, BBC Four will broadcast a two-hour canal journey in real time. No soundtrack, no host or voiceover, no fancy camerawork; just a serene, unedited pootle through the British countryside.
I think many westerners equate workaholic habits with success and too much leisure time with laziness. Both are extremes. There was a period when we tried the ‘Work hard and play hard’ lifestyle, but that doesn’t really quite work well either. There are many successful entrepreneurs who now embrace taking time regularly to ‘just be’ and rejuvenate. Even if it’s an hour for lunch, just taking time to relax your mind will make a difference in the quality of your work. Here is a very informative article from Fast Company magazine covering this very idea. The research in brain science is finding many ancient teachings coincide with modern research on improved mental agility. What I takeaway time and time again, is much like machines, but far more complex, we humans need maintenance, tune-ups and sometimes complete over-hauls to function well. Sleep, rest and relaxation are key necessities in helping us to function at optimal levels and live well.
BUDDHA HAD IT RIGHT: RELAX THE MIND AND PRODUCTIVITY WILL FOLLOW
Don’t get me wrong, I am not anti-digital. It offers many conveniences. It just shouldn’t exist at the expense of our well-being. When things begin to encroach on important things like mind, body and spirit, I want to ask questions, step back and maybe say no to a few things. Here is a more positive perspective, (or should I say hopeful) on the digital distractions that are now a big part of our lives. The article from The New Yorker is entitled ” A New Theory of Distraction’. Maybe the writer is right, we can never replace our beautiful human memories. But I still maintain, we have to be careful that we don’t lose our capacity to actually experience things fully, or we won’t really remember them. We can’t let modern lifestyle steal our peace or our memories.