How often do you feel that you are rushing and have no time?
Have you ever considered that you might lose more time rushing to be punctual than if you took your eyes off the clock for a few moments?
I always felt that being punctual meant I was efficient and respectful of the people who otherwise would have wait for me. Not that I am always on time—but I feel guilty and forced to find some lame excuse if I let myself be late.
After teaching for a week in Madrid, I have another idea.
In some Latin American countries, the participants of my classes felt that being 10 to 20 minutes late was acceptable because that is what they always did. I had to accept this practice, but I still don’t like it.
However in Madrid, most of the participants seemed to have an internal clock that had them casually arrive within the first few minutes of the start time. They weren’t really late. Nor were they early.
I noticed the same behavior and feeling when we met for dinner or at the end of the week as people were leaving for the airport. There never seemed to be in a rush. No one kept their eyes on the clock. When it was time to go, it was time to go.
Even when the class went a little late in the evening because lunch lasted two hours instead of one (which made me crazy), no one complained, pushed or even seemed to notice. The focus was on what was important in the moment. We would do what we had to do in a suitable time frame.
Yet I couldn’t articulate this sense until the last day. I was having coffee with one of the participants before it was time to leave. I kept looking at the clock to make sure I wouldn’t be late for my cab. Finally she said, “Why do you worry so much about time? You will be there when the taxi comes. All will be well.”
I am not sure I can shift to trusting my internal clock as well as she does, but this made me aware of how much time I waste worrying about being on time. Her words also made me see that I was missing the chance to focus on the glorious moment enjoying a coffee in Madrid with a wise woman I may never see again.
What about you? Do you always feel in a rush? What would happen, really, if you slowed down and took life a little easier knowing you would be on time for what is important anyway?
I now know that time management is more about how I feel about time than how I prioritize my tasks.
Please share your ideas on dealing with a sense of time here so we can all figure out the best ways to find more time to live.