Just recently, I heard a television personality thank an important public figure for his time as they completed their on-air interview. Time is an interesting idea. I catch myself frequently saying “I don’t have time for that.” One of the most common questions I hear people ask when faced with the chance to do something meaningful, creative or generally outside of their norm is this: “Where would I find the time?”
Sometimes it seems we are obsessed with asking for, making and finding time. But where is time? I can tell you this - you won’t find time lying around in patches to be picked, like wild strawberries in the bush. We are surrounded by time – but we just might not be thinking about time in a way that serves us.
What if time is not the most valuable resource we have? I’m coming to realize that my most valuable resource is my attention. Why? Because my actions follow my attention.
If I get caught up in my computer, I’m blindly surfing the internet and before I know it, an hour has gone by. It happens way more often than I want to admit, and it’s not the only way my attention wanders into unproductive territory. When I step back and ask myself whether funny stories on social media (or other mind-numbing nonsense) are one of my priorities, the answer is no.
When I shift my attention to my actual priorities, it looks different - I can always find time to take care of what really matters to me. My attention is what drives my results.
The proof may be in how my busier days go. When I schedule my water ski time first, that becomes the priority around which I schedule everything else. It creates focus from which to run my day, rather than letting my day run me. I get much more done on those days, compared to days that give me the illusion of having “plenty of time” to do everything.
Does disciplining my attention give me more time? Nope. What it does do is set the conditions for me to complete what I most want to accomplish. Now excuse me - I have to go exercise my attention.