Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Matter of Time

by Gary Fearon, Creative Director

Every once in a while, the subject comes up (usually after the latest Iron Man or X-Men movie), and someone will ask this question:

“If you were a superhero, what superpower would you have?”

Despite the many options one could envision, I’m kind of proud to say my answer has stayed the same over the years. The reason I’m proud is because I think it’s the most logical choice of all. My superpower would be the ability to stop time.

Imagine. If you could stop time in its tracks you’d have all the other superheroes beat by a mile. You wouldn’t need to leap tall buildings in a single bound (like Superman) because you could just walk. You wouldn’t need super strength (like, say, the Hulk on a bad day) since you could simply go get your car and push whatever’s in your way. Everything and everybody would simply wait until you were done.

Now, you may have come up with a superpower you think is better than mine, such as being able to go back in time and change the past. But come on, that could never happen. Let’s keep it real.

In my scenario, deadlines wouldn’t stress you out, since you’d have the power to stall them until tomorrow, or next month. Running late for a big event? Forget about it. Get there when you can, and stop for a sandwich on the way.

Seriously, marvel at this list of things you’d accomplish: you’d have time to read every book and watch every movie you ever wanted to catch up on. You could write endless novels, learn new languages, and become a master at any skill you desire. You wouldn’t even need a cape.

Unfortunately, the closest most of us will ever come to stopping time is hitting pause on the DVR. But there are, of course, ways we can take charge of the hours we have. 

Time management experts tell us to ask the “Lakein Question” (named after author Alan Lakein): “What is the best use of my time right now?” In other words, “Is this what I want or need to be doing right this minute?” If the answer to both of those questions is “no”, you’re probably wasting your time! 

Separating the urgent from the important is another staple of time management, and like most of us, I wish I was better at telling them apart. All day long our truly important tasks will be interrupted by some urgent thing that can’t wait or can wait but we don’t let it because it seems important such as an email or a phone call. Meanwhile, the important item is on the back burner again. 

If you have a goal, sticking with it is the way to see it through. Control your time instead of letting it take control of you.

Now that I think of it, there was an Adam Sandler movie about five years ago called Click, in which the hero was able to stop everything around him with a remote control. It was actually pretty amusing. In fact, I wouldn’t mind going and watching it right now. But I don’t have the time.

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