The King's Marquee

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A Reflection: Making Time

Is time our friend or enemy? Or is it merely a partner in our current reality?

Well, one thing is for sure - time is something we can't control. So given that we have a meager 24 hours in a day, you have to make the best of it. You end up slicing it and dicing it into basic components:

1) Work (13 hours) - usually demands the most of your day and includes physically being at work, commuting to and from work, and the gray areas on the ends that distract you either while running errands, while eating, or engaged in something other than work, including trying to get to sleep.
2) Sleep (6 hrs) - (or actual sleep) usually runs between 11 pm to 5 am. With subtle interruptions.
3) Eating - (1 hr) - usually consists of more time prepping and less time consuming food.
4) Family and Errands (3 hrs) - the family time component usually suffers the most, and errands are a necessity. Cleaning, mowing lawn, shopping, vacuuming, putting children to bed, changing diapers.
5) Wasting time (1 hr) - Television, computer time, having a beer and zoning out.

As most of you know, I have a very demanding job. Lately, I've been putting in about 10-11 hours a day (and that time still doesn't allot for everything that needs to be done properly). But that is the life of a project director/program manager, and no one can lay blame about the work they do since we live in a free market and there are a vast number of jobs out there. And besides, the job is a personality fit for me: Always busy, never finished, and racing against the clock to meet milestones and deadlines while fighting fires each step of the way. (I'll save my fire on project management for another entry).

But back to the focus on time. I believe the equation is simple, the more demanding your job is - the more you are conpensated (let's face it, they pay you for the level of stress and accountability), therefore - the more time is expected to get the work done right, and not just your work, but the work of others. Since most of us, who want nice things for ourselves and our families, need to take these kinds of jobs, then we knowingly sacrafice time with our families, free time, and our health.

Is it worth it? Sure. We want our kids to grow up having what they need to be happy, healthy, and given the tools to be competitive in a complex and ever-changing world. And for the free moments we get, we want the conveniences and niceities in life that make it worthwhile - this includes things like toys that make us happy, and family vacations and weekend trips where great memories are made.

So given everything that I've written about time, I'm afraid I can offer little in the way of how best to reclaim any of it. All I can offer is to snipit time off of errands, a tad from work, a tad more from sleep, and make eating time family focused to the best extent possible.

All of this is hard with leaving for work when family is in bed or just waking up, my return home around 6 pm, and the kids bound for bed at 8 pm. It's the cycle of the working dad. So you just have to make 6pm - 8pm quality time with the family.

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