This is a question I have often wondered about. Mainly because I never seem to have enough of it – especially to write. I was thinking about the issue of time scarcity following a brief conversation I had with the award winning author, Michael Robotham. I went to hear him speak recently at a local library and at the conclusion I asked him how I could get my next book published. He said that you just have to keep writing as the more I wrote the better I would become. I bought a copy of his latest book, “Close your Eyes”, and he was kind enough to sign it with the following inscription:
“Keep finding time to write.”
And here in lies the problem – I never seem to have enough time. My day, like most people, falls into three parts:
- 8-10 hours for work, followed by
- 8 hours to sleep (I need my beauty sleep), which leaves me with….
- 8 hours to do whatever else I want/need to do.
So here’s my theory – if time was metricated we would have more of it. Problem solved!
Just think about it. If there were 100 seconds per minute and 100 minutes per hour and 20 hours per day we would have an extra 5.6 metricated hours per day. Imagine! All that extra time to do all those things we never get done.
It also occurred to me that the concept of time and how it is measured is one of the few things that all of mankind has agreed upon. As a species we have multiple languages, different currencies, calendars and measurement systems for weights and measures, even different calendars, cultures and traditions. But how we measure time is uniform across all countries and people. If only we humans could all agree on a few more things that affect us all.
There are no substitutes for time. Once the day is over, we will never get it back and we can never go back. Time is irreversible and irreplaceable.
Of course, metricating time is whimsical thinking. The real problem is not about how much time I have, it’s how I use it. I bought a book in 1993 called ‘Yes You Can’ by Jack Collis (it’s just been reprinted). As you would expect from the title, it’s a motivational book and I still have it today. There’s a chapter in there titled ‘Time is Life’ which I re-read recently and a salutary section stood out for me.
“Time is inelastic. You can’t stretch it (so there goes my theory on metricating time!). You can’t gain time. The only choice we have with time is how to use the time we have. It’s a sobering thought to consider that in any twenty-four hours, geniuses get the same time as mental incompetents, millionaires the same as paupers. The difference doesn’t lie in the time itself, the difference lies in the activities we undertake and the quality of life that those activities produce.”
Obviously, time is not my problem (or lack of it) – it’s how I use the time and prioritising those things that really matter to me – like finding time to write everyday.
“This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.” Ralph Waldo Emerson