Time: All of us who follow the Western calendar have 1,440 minutes in a day, seven days in a week, 52 weeks in a year. So why then does time sometimes whizz past, and at other times it creeeeeeeeeeeeps past?
As a polymath with a low boredom threshold and a butterfly brain, when I’m doing some dull administrative task there still seem to be many hours left in the day. Today, however, I’ve been doing research for a book and it’s already 10pm, I’ve got a Skype call coming in, and the day has just disappeared!
When you’re doing something you’re passionate about – referred to in Christian-speak as God ‘placing something on your heart’ – time spins past.
We’ve been given time on this earth by God, along with the passions that He’s has given us. Time management trainers will take this message and specify that you should strategise how you spend your time, so you don’t get dragged down by the ‘urgent’ at the expense of the ‘important’.
And the Bible tells us in Psalm 90:12: “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” There are many tasks that will suck time out of the day; a cluttered environment – whether physical or digital, drags energy out, and I have felt time being consumed as I seek something that I know is there.
Having nearly sorted my physical space, over the past couple of weeks I’ve been tackling chunks of my electronic space. Mark Forster’s book Do It Tomorrow says you throw everything you haven’t dealt with into a backlog, and spend an hour or so each day on the backlog, while seeking to keep on top of the new information coming in.
Technology is often blamed for zapping our time, but there are ways that we can live more appropriately in the digital spaces. For the past two years, I’ve been unable to switch off from managing my blog. So I’ve taken the unprecedented step of asking a friend to take it over for a month each year.
Doing this will allow me the space to re-energise and gain fresh perspectives.
Of course it’s important to plan such things. But James 4:14 reminds us not to over-plan: “What do you know about tomorrow? How can you be so sure about your life? It is nothing more than mist that appears for only a little while before it disappears.”
And as Gandhi said: “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
So, knowing that any minute could be my last one, I tend to jam everything into my life. It seems I’m not the only one. Last June I wrote a piece for Bible Reflections on the necessity of rest. It became the most linked-to article on their blog. Clearly it’s a topic of concern to many people. And as an insomniac who’s finishing this in the early hours of the morning, I clearly still have some way to go…. Don’t we all. Thank God He loves us as we are anyway.