I’ve spent the summer on a big project that ate up a lot of my time and summer. I also just posted a picture to Facebook of my niece and I nineteen years ago – time flies. I’ve heard that it seems to go faster the older you get, and I have to agree that does seem the case. It certainly feels like time rockets by me so much quicker as I age. And I find myself realizing things like Seinfeld ended May 14, 1998 – sixteen years ago and I’m aghast at what time has elapsed. And then I think through all of the things that have happened in that 16 years – projects, losses, love, marriage, kids, moments – lots and lots of moments. And then it doesn’t feel so quick.
We were at a retirement/anniversary/birthday celebration on the weekend and the topic of fast moving time arose, as it usually seems to at the end of summer, and one person remarked at how they haven’t changed – it’s everyone else who just seems younger. Funny, profound and true.
So what makes time move faster as we get older? Is it that we are busier? More responsibility? More distractions? Or are we just blindly moving through day after day after day with no concept of how each day stacks up to a year and a year to a decade and so on. What are we missing?
I know I struggle with slowing down, taking a breath and not being in a hurry. Most times the hurry is self-imposed unless I’ve committed to be somewhere and don’t want to be late. My senior citizen dog is good for me because he moves slow and it causes me to move slow. It also causes me to think about why I am in a hurry so often. I’ve taken it on as a personal project, to just slow down, to work through my own anxiety about having to respond immediately to texts or emails, to walk quickly or think rapidly. It is actually work for me to slow down. Ironic, I realize.
So, are you moving faster than you need to? Not that moving fast isn’t necessary at sometimes for a lot of very good reasons. And I also recognize and appreciate that sometimes we have a long list of to do’s with a tight timeline. Slowing down is worth it, think about how much we miss? Think about what we leave behind? Why are we so immediate?
As leaders, what are you missing? Are you flying in and out of your office, rushing through meetings, not taking time to have a cup of coffee or short conversation with your team around you? Do you jam pack your schedule so you have no option to actually invest in people or projects? I have a Doctor who runs on time, the longest I’ve waiting for him is about ten minutes. That’s it, ten minutes. My previous Doctor would on average run one hour behind. I never feel rushed by my on time Doctor, never feel like he’s got to get done with me to move on to his next patient and keep his schedule. But I often did with my late Doctor. So it’s completely possible to give quality service, run on time and ensure your clients feel well taken care of – it is possible.
I’d encourage you to look at your days and see where you are blindly motoring through to just get it done. Where can you infuse some good ole fashioned communication and connection to people, nature or the universe? Where can you make room for time, just time? What is the impact on your relationships by a full schedule? What are you unable to complete or connect because you are so busy? What are you giving up to get it done?
Our adult Formula One race is part of our culture and part of our choices. As long as you can keep your commitments I say take a note from my senior citizen dog – walk a little slower, smell a little longer and be hurried by no one unless there is a pretty good treat worth the enticement and worth the sacrifice of simple, perfect, time.