Time Is On My Side

Every Monday morning, on every social platform I bother looking at, it’s the same thing:

“Dear Monday, can you please die or go to hell”

“Two words I hate: 1. Work. 2. Monday.”

“For once in my life I would love to wake up, turn on the news and hear “Monday has been canceled, go back to sleep.””

“TGIF”

Sure, weekends are cool. There’s sport, and family, and parties, and lots of food. I get that not all of us have jobs we enjoy, let alone love. So I’m going to do my very best not to sound like a sanctimonious twat, but…

I think we’re getting this wrong. Horribly wrong. I feel like most of us are in a non-stop battle with time. We wish it away, and then complain that we never have any.

That’s right. It’s always those people on my timeline or newsfeed that complain most about it being Monday, or the weekend being over, or “Oh-My-God-Winter-is-here” that also seem to complain about never having enough time.

To be completely honest, I think very few of us have a right to complain about not having enough time. I mean, how dare I complain about not having enough time when people like Elon Musk exist? The man is changing the universe with every breath he takes, and I don’t see him tweeting about how much he wishes it were Friday. Or how he wishes he could clone himself.

He just gets shit done.

I don’t see Richard Branson complaining either. Or Marissa Meyer. Or Bono. Or Desmond Tutu.

Why is it then that the world’s busiest, most significant and successful people, who should have more right than anyone to complain, never complain about not having enough time?

I recently started running. Because I’m running and enjoying it, I’m feeling fitter. Because I’m feeling fitter, I started swimming and going to gym more. Because I’m committed to that, I’m eating better. Eating better requires effort and time. So every day I commit at least two hours to fitness. Come evening time, I’m physically finished. So I crash at about 10, and sleep like the dead for 7 or 8 hours.

So I’ve taken 2 hours out of every day, am getting to bed earlier and sleeping longer. Logically this would spell disaster for work, but I’ve easily doubled my productivity and have never felt like I’m achieving more. And it’s also not a “I’m exercising now so life is awesome” sermon either, it’s something else…

Although it might seem like I’m DOING more, I’m not. I think I’m just doing more of the “right” things.

I think there are really only two categories of activity we can choose to spend time on. Those that add life, and those that drain life. It’s no great mystery discerning the difference between the two either – I think we inherently know. The harder part is choosing the better option. If you choose the better option enough, it becomes a habit.

I used to hate getting out of bed, spent all day procrastinating (you know – those days when you’re procrastinating SO hard you actually manually refresh your Twitter timeline – seventy times), and all week hoping for that one thing on the weekend that would possibly sustain me for the next week. And yet I still had the nerve to tell people I was “hectic” and “manic”. What a clown.

What a kak way to live.

The really weird thing is that I feel like I have more time than ever. I’m busy, yes, but because I’ve made a conscious effort to replace the things I know I shouldn’t be doing with the things I should be. I’m not playing less golf, or having less rad catch-ups with friends, or watching less movies. I’m still doing those things and it’s important that I do because in my world they ADD life.

The more time I give to things that drain life, the more I’m cheating myself. The uglier the world looks. The sadder I get. I owe it to myself to boot those things.

I don’t think we need to fight tooth and nail with time. I think you, me, and time can find a happy, mutually-beneficial middle ground. Things undoubtedly move faster every day, I think spending time doing things that matter can slow it all down a tad.

Ultimately, life’s too short to wish any of it away. So rock every day. Even Monday!

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason Bagley

    Great post Mike! The Monday and TGIF tweets irritate the hell out of me too and I totally agree with you on the exercising thing. Makes so much difference to every part of life.

    Shitty post title though. Needs a little more punch. I almost didn’t read it because of it. :)

    • http://www.facebook.com/mikestopforth Mike Stopforth

      Ha ha! My strategy is to lower expectations with the title ;)

      • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason Bagley

        Haha. Let me know how that works out!

  • http://twitter.com/blackburnmike Mike Blackburn

    Yes! We complain about how time flies, but we always are wishing for Friday.
    Great piece.

  • http://www.seagyndavis.com/ Seagyn Davis

    TGIM :) That’s what I always say :)

  • http://happinessisat.blogspot.com/ fathima

    Great post – fully agree.

  • http://twitter.com/Nicki_Dadic Nicki Dadic

    Great post and so true! Being fit and healthy does wonders for your physical and mental health! Makes you an all round positive being! I strive for this attitude on a daily basis, but will admit I have those “why won’t this day just end already!” moments when my kids are driving me mad… :)

  • http://twitter.com/quasergrif Michael Griffiths

    Another great post Mike. I will try and adopt this strategy in my life…starting next Tuesday ;)

  • bevmerriman

    I think I’ll add some additional perspective to this post :-)

    I’m pretty sure that people like Richard Branson, Elon Musk and Marissa Meyer has at some point in there lives turned around to someone in their inner circle and said “Hell, imagine if I had more time!” or “If there was two of me, imagine what we can do then! or “If I had double the amount of time I have now, imagine how we can change the world!” You’re a public observer of their lives, not an active participant and privy to that kind of commentary. Which brings me to the point that sometimes when you wish for more time, it’s not a negative thing – sometimes it’s related to possibility and other times it’s related to time actually running out.

    People are human – life happens – illness, dying family members, unexpected death, retrenchment/loss of income happens. Sometimes they just want to wish away the sadder/stressful bits of life and sometimes they just want to extend what is inevitable. Or more simply they just feel fed-up or overwhelmed.

    Does wanting more time for any reason make them unproductive? You seem to assume that people who don’t complain are super productive and thus successful and that those who do ‘complain’ are less productive. Often one can be super productive and fill your life with all the ‘right things’ as you put it…and life will still make you feel like time is running out. Never assume that because you are in a good space that it holds true for other people.

    Yes there are people that waste their time, waste their lives and ultimately contribute very little to society. But never forget the other side. Some people, who have been super productive for years, just want to be cloned to do even more in this world. Others just want to have more to spend with a dying loved one. Many just want to relive an awesome weekend instead of going back to their unfulfilling job that pays the bills, they not necessarily terrible people. Sometimes things are that simple.

    • http://www.facebook.com/mikestopforth Mike Stopforth

      Hey Bev, thanks for the comment. I knew someone would think I was being a sanctimonious twat ;)

      I categorically do not assume there is a direct correlation between people who complain being less productive and unsuccessful. I do however find it strange that most people who complain (that they don’t have enough time), are also wishing time away. That was my only assertion.

      I also find it strange that you think I’d never experienced any hardship (or am not experiencing any hardship right now). And I absolutely never said people who wish away time are “terrible people”. I can completely understand why someone who hates every minute of every week would wish time away. As I said before, my confusion is around those who wish time away, and in the next breath say they never have enough of it.

      Sorry if I offended!

      • bevmerriman

        Wasn’t offended at all! :-) Just pointing out that there is always another take on it.

  • http://www.justinmccall.co.za Justin McCall

    Lovely post Mike, and even better is that what you say has been confirmed by a comment or two on this post.

  • Karen

    If time was a bank balance, would we use it differently?

  • http://twitter.com/anysroad Annika Ziehen

    Awesome reminder how to allocate time wisely. Will take a very conscious nap now and then go refreshed in my afternoon instead of refreshing Twitter manually hoping it will make me feel re-energized!

  • mbuguaCWG

    brutal honesty!
    got me here…”The more time I give to things that drain life, the more I’m cheating myself. The uglier the world looks. The sadder I get. I owe it to myself to boot those things.”
    Cheers to rocking everyday!!

  • Archer McKeddie

    Nice said. You so many emoutions to this topic, it was so unexpectable for me to find such post i even share it via whatsapp free download. When I have read this post I could not do nothing for 5 minutes. So I wish you to continue your activity!

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