You know those days when you’re ruled not by an iron fist but by an invisible clock?
When your to-do list is longer than those old encyclopedia Britannica’s.
When you feel like that ‘80’s song the ‘Final Countdown’ is on an endless loop. And you feel like if you stopped for a minute to think about all the stuff you’ve got to get done that steam would erupt from your ears & your eyeballs.
Cue those times when you hear the incessant ticks of the clock clanking against your consciousness like grains of sand through an hourglass. When you have a sketchy stomach that’s hammering at you in sync with the drum beat of your nerves that you cannot.possibly.get.it.all.done.
Remember those times where you avoid the bathroom because you simply don’t have time?
Or when you finally get up from your desk you’re all achy from sitting too long & your muscles feel like they’ve been pummeled by a stampede of elephants?
It’s something I’ve been reflecting on.
I have a simple solution for you that’s right in front of your … clock
We are ruled by the clock. Especially in the Western world we treat time like a commodity; we save it, bank it, shave it etc.
(Which by the way doesn’t help, when you live in an African culture like I do, where time is wayyyyy more fluid.)
And the ever present clock only adds to that feeling of being strangled by our to do list.
Bowing down at the temple of time has created an altar to the goddess of efficiency.
Having a good day often means being super efficient. Tick that thing off the to do list & carry on.
And yet there is no end of time management techniques. They’re helpful considerations but as I was running around like a warthog avoiding a lion the other day, I was smacked in the face with an idea.
Something’s missing I thought.
And then it popped.
The pace at which we work is critical & yet often not talked about.
Well I tell ya, it’s time for risorgimento (a time of renewal or renaissance).
When I thought about my usual harried work pace I realized I was making a huge assumption.
Can you guess what it was?
Like an ancient blender
I realized I’m like one of those very old blenders. I typically only have two speeds; faster than a licking up that last bit of cookie dough clinging to the beaters & slower than your kiddo getting out the door on a school day.
In other words I usually work super fast which means when I’m not working, I’m super slow (sometimes close to a vegetative state when I’m really tired).
Speaking of which, I’ve slowly been hauling my 40+ photo albums from Canada to Kenya in the hopes of digitizing the images. I remembered a really cool *related* experience I’d had with my kiddo in Thailand.
But in the meantime I was working fast to write this post & thought to myself ‘oh but you don’t have time to find that picture for this post.’ Cue the irony.
So I took a break to meander down memory lane & I found the picture!
We were in Ko Samui, Thailand circa 2001. My kiddo Liam was hanging with this monk while hubbie & I explored the temple which had beautiful, ornate wall hangings of Buddhist stories. One of which was the story of the 3 stringed lyre, which goes something like this.
There once was a three stringed lyre. One string could not produce music because it was strung too tight. One string did not work because it was strung too loose. Only the middle string was tuned correctly because it was neither too loose nor too tight.
And thus it is with time I realized.
I can add other speeds, other than uber fast & slow & so can you.
I can work at a medium pace; fast enough to keep me producing & creating but not so fast that everything is a blur & there’s no time for reflection.
What’s your pace of work tend to be? Are you more the tightly wound string or the loosely held one?
When used too often the tightly wound string can lead to burnout, exhaustion & a lack of contemplation & reflection.
And the super loose string can result in analysis paralysis; ‘ahh, I’ll get to that thing next week, next month, next year.’
A spiffy worksheet for you
Because you know I love a good worksheet, I made one for you to help you examine your own pace. It puts everything into a spiffy grid & prompts you to come up with your own examples of what works where for you.
So play around. Speed up & get out of analysis paralysis when you realize you’re spinning your wheels. And slow down when the wind is whipping you in the face so fast your hair looks like it’s been hit by a tornado & lap from the luxurious pool of reflection.
And most of all, experiment with medium (not to be confused with mediocre). Press the petal to the middle, until your pace is juuust right.
Download the worksheet now & let me know how it goes. Me & my medium will be waiting.