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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Too Much Time on Your Hands? Or Maybe Too Little?

Recently, an old friend of mine had a comment to make about this esteemed blog:

"You must have a lot of time on your hands to talk about everything that's right and wrong in this world.  The 'Four Pillars of Manhood?'  Don't get the wrong idea, I'm not going off on your blog, I'm just saying . . . ."

I'll let those words speak for themselves, and withhold judgment.  Of course, this old friend got the title wrong, but "I'm just saying."

However, that comment really did make me think -- do I really have too much time on my hands?  In response, the other side of brain woke up and said, "Doubtful.  Not with the responsibilities I have at work.  Not with the time I put in training for yet another marathon.  Not with the time I spend visiting friends, meeting new people, etc.  Too much time on my hands?  That's nothing more than an old Styx tune!"

You know what, the issue isn't really how much, or how little time we have.  It's how we use that time.  Do we run the clock out, or do we milk it.  Do we try to beat the clock, or do we let it just pass us by?

Many of us have careers that just don't fit into a Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 schedule.  Sometimes we have to get to the office early, sometimes we have to stay late.  Sometimes we have to go in on weekends, sometimes we have to work from home.  If we're focused enough on the job at hand, it shouldn't matter how much time is put into it, but it should matter that we get the job done, and that it's done right.  If anything, I've found that putting in some extra time, just to make sure it's right, is a pretty satisfying experience.  Maybe not like winning the whole ball game, but you definitely put "mas puntos" on the board!

That being said, you can't make a job, or a career, your whole life.  We're equipped to function normally if we're awake only 16 out of 24 hours every day.  We usually have friends and loved ones who miss us when we say we're "too busy," and appreciate us all the more when they're given top billing on our schedule.  And if they really matter, you'll make the time for them, even if you have XYZ to do, and it must be done today!

And of course, if we're too busy to make time for some form of exercise, whether it's hitting the weights, burning up the roads, mixed martial arts or even tai chi, we regret it.  Big time.  Even if you have to work 12 hours a day, if you can't find time to blow off that steam, level off that stress, or just close the door and chillax for a while, you're harming yourself tremendously.

Take me, for example.  My job gives me huge responsibilities that require large amounts of time, but I still make time to run.  If I'm lucky, I give myself three mornings a week for speed work or tempo runs, and then a long run on the weekend.  And not to toot my own horn (don't lie Dave, yes it is), but I enjoyed the fruits of that labor this morning when I ran a 1:44:33 half marathon in 20 degrees.  Of course, I needed to take even more time to get up early this morning to make the 8am starting time, but it was more than worth it.  As many of us runners know, (a) early morning races leave you the rest of the day to use productively; and (b) the "runner's high" that we all get after running that far is our secret weapon in life.  That's why so many runners are basically happy people, and a lot less likely to get agitated or annoyed at life's little annoyances.  Don't get me wrong, we still know they're annoying, we're not the Dalai Lama for cryin' out tears, but we know that getting upset over them would (say it with me, peeps) waste time, and energy, when we could simply keep our chill intact and simply handle life.

And this esteemed blog?  Truth be told, peeps, this most enjoyable hobby of mine takes no more than one hour a week.  And that's including the video.  It doesn't take hours or days to be aware of what's up in the world, or what's up in someone's mind.  It just takes a brief interval to transfer it all from brain to keyboard, and a nanosecond to publish it.

So, people, as another exciting work week begins, let's try to use our time, as much or as little of it as we have, productively.

And don't forget, another gift-giving holiday approaches -- I'll comment on the significant of that day, or possible lack thereof, later.