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Time vs Everything

Everyone talks about vision, goals, plans and so on and so forth. Ever wondered why in most cases, our thoughts remain entrapped in plans and do not result in outcomes which we eagerly looked forward to when we made those plans? Let me attempt to peel each layer of this onion and get to the heart of the matter!

There can be quite a few reasons for us to end up losing our way when it comes to chasing outcomes. Lethargy is a big culprit in many cases. 'Unexpected' events is another. But then, as an old colleague used to say, "Every failure is a failure of anticipation", and so is every 'unexpected' event!

I like to think of Time as a great motivator for us to be able to convert our dreams into reality. How so? Well, time does not wait. It cannot be saved and stored for use later. It cannot be borrowed or bought. But it can be wasted. Someone or some distraction can take it away from you. And unfortunately, while time can tick away forever, we don't. Not only is our time on this earth finite, the productive window is even shorter! So, why not use this precious resource as a great motivator?

Just this morning, in my college WhatsApp group, there was one friend talking about how he wants to get back to his cycling days. He used to be a serious one at that. How life always seems to come in the way, he said. It will for sure.

Here is what I've been trying since almost thirty years and it seems to keep me happy. And I do hope it has brought happiness to people around me too! There was a time when everything seemed equally important. My passions, my job, my family and my friends. That actually covers just about everything that matters in our lives! The challenge was that I was beginning to feel way too stretched trying to meet all my little goals at the same time. To top it all, everything seemed top priority. Something had to be done.

So I decided to draw a time line and allocate slots based on when I would assign a higher priority to certain goals. Can we give a lower priority to family ever ? Maybe not, but there can be times when family will be pushed to a high priority! Means, there are ups and downs when it comes to priority. Let me clear up some confusion here - our responsibilities towards the family keeps changing over time. Just think about the following phases and you will see it the way I do - before marriage, before the kids arrive, before kids become independent, before our parents become dependent and so on. There are those windows of opportunities for us to be able to squeeze in a lot of other priorities if we get our timing right. Same is the case with our jobs and careers.

In my case, I decided to break down my top priorities into buckets of ten and five year durations. One of the goals would be assigned top priority during each of these phases while the others would take a back seat. Seems to be working.

Where am I going with this, you may be wondering! Well, everything else (almost everything) can be managed in a number of different ways. But you cannot control the ticking clock. Even the multi-core processor in the fastest computer is able to multi-task / multi-thread only on the basis of time slicing based on priorities assigned to each task. We need to do the same. And having done that, we need to of course, focus on relentless execution to ensure that the time allocated was properly utilised.

Take time seriously. He is a friend who is continuously moving, allowing each one of us to ride with him. It is upto us to figure out what we'd like to be doing during the ride. Fall asleep or do something meaningful. And yes, while we may think of us as being advanced and highly evolved, we aren't good enough to do justice to doing many things at the same time.

And let us stop blaming someone or something for taking away our precious time. We are the ones allowing them to do it!

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