To get it out of the way now, I know there’s an argument that time doesn’t exist and it’s a made up concept. We can talk about that later if you really want to.
Time is one of the most valuable resources we have. It is also probably one of the most stressed over things in life, or the root there of. You may stress over homework, work and even recreational plans you’ve made. We pressure ourselves. We rush and become frantic, stressing out over this timer we’ve placed on ourselves. With this stress, we become forgetful, frantic and our mind is rifling thoughts and concerns left and right in a chaotic mess of what you need to do.
The most troubling thing is finally leaving only to remember you forgot something. In certain instances something important where you have to circle back drive the two or three blocks, and sometimes more, to go retrieve the forgot item. Other times you’ll run to the car, remember something, and go back three or four more times until everything is collected. With that, your stress has compounded and will continue to as you glance at the clock trying to hurry and make up for lost time.
If there’s anything I’ve learned, its that time isn’t so much of the essence. We stress and spend so much time taking an organized plan and watching it fall into a spiraling maelstrom of chaos. One of the best examples, and probably most relatable, is studying. In college, high school, and even as early as elementary school now with standardized testing. We freak out, cram and cram and try to get as much as we can get done in a compacted time that we give ourselves before the deadline arrives. Most often in doing this, you’ll just get through and read to just get it done and say you’ve taken in the information needed, only to realize that when you’re needing that information, you were running along, dragging it behind you for it to be completely covered in the mud of your stressed mayhem, blotting the memory of what you crammed.
This is also applicable to work deadlines. You have X amount of time to complete your project at hand. Often times, there’s a steady start. There’s no stress, no rush, not until there’s a bump in the road along the way. We start to panic, “is this going to ruin everything?” “How will I make up for the lost time?” “It’s not going to be good enough anymore.” That’s when we start to fall into disarray and stress. The perception that you now have less time will shave more time than calming down, and the hardest thing to do is not stress.
I know it’s easier said than done, we’ve all been there, myself included. The best thing to do, is take a deep breath, step back and look at the wall in front of you, look at the break in the road. Look left, look right. How far until there’s a way around it? How far back do you have to go to get a ladder or a plank of wood to conquer the wall or break? You’ll sacrifice some time, but you’re investing in lost time. You’re replacing the time you would lose while disorienting yourself with stress.
You may tell yourself that time can’t be made up. You’re right, and that’s why cutting corners for “making up lost time” is one of the worst things you can do. Borrowed time however is entirely possible. We pride ourselves in being able to do things on our own. To be able to take the credit for the jobs we’re given. We are often too proud to take a step back, swallow said pride and ask for help. You’re borrowing time from someone else. You’re asking someone to invest their time to double up the progress that’s necessary. It takes a load off your plate. They take a plate full of your work, worries and concerns. They dump your worries and you both move forward. Their time is invested, and one day that borrowed time may need to be returned and you help them with their time.
It’s easier said than done, but time isn’t something to worry about. It’s too limited to lose out on because of pressure of deadlines. Think of stress like gambling. You end up losing and having less than what you started, so you bet more trying to get yourself on par or even ahead. The only difference is that you’re not going to win. The now subpar amount you have becomes the par and you’re chancing to lose even more. Time is more than a measurement of existence. Quoting Ryan Reynolds in “Van Wilder,” “Worrying is a lot like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
Don’t waste anymore over the amount that’s already slipped by. It’s a currency, a finite amount for everything in existence. What’s that t-shirt phrase? “Keep Calm and Carry on?” I know it’s easier said than done, but with enough practice you’ll see the stress slip by and everything will align down the line.
Photograph Credit: Jarred Paluzzi