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My life seems to be a series of discoveries in which credos turn out to be codswallop. Every time I feel assured I’ve finally separated reality from the rubbish another so-called truism is exposed for the claptrap it is and always has been. You think by now I’d be used to it. I shouldn’t be surprised anymore when another is discovered to be a humbug. All the same, it irks me to realize I’ve been sold again another set of cheap goods.

Today’s metanoia is about Time Management. Not since the invention of The Wizard of Oz has there been such a sham. If the point of time saving devices is to free up our lives for leisure this has failed utterly. Indeed! It seems whenever there is so-called progress at time saving it creates more work – and expectations that go higher and become (in my opinion) more inimical to our health.  I remember Grandmother shook the rugs out once a month on a certain set day . It took time to do so this but in between beatings she was content to live with carpets not looking their best. She made cookies and played the piano instead. Along came the vacuum and she felt obliged to vacuum frequently to keep up the new standard of having spotless floors and rugs.  Another example of time sucking disguised as time saving is texting. People were once content to call a place and leave a message on a phone machine, knowing these wouldn’t be returned right away. Nowadays if a text/email isn’t instantly returned it is a great anxiety and upset.  It is Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate wrapping conveyor belt at its worst: when you get people to work more efficiently this merely ups the ante.  Making machines work faster and better is well and good but the human brain is probably not wired to work this way – and we are seeing signs of discontent in the worker – at least the ones in the States.

In response to time saving devices have taken over our lives we’ve developed the art of Time Management.  This principle rests upon the erroneous axiom we ought to do as much as possible and as efficient as possible when we do it.  The gist of Time Management is trying to deduce how to incorporate everything  in a better way.  The common sense conclusions to unload things or abandon the axiom aren’t ever considered. Rather we channel the Red Queen who has to run as fast as she can just to stay in one place; to get anywhere she had to run faster.

In my line of work I often see patients with ‘control issues”. This often means they feel out of control of everything they think they should be handling/doing.  I sometimes make the comment it’s as if the gods are trying to get them to learn the lesson doing and being all is not worth it – the gods are aggravating you until you connect the dots and let go of control and efficiency.  When my patients let up they report feeling so much better and their worlds don’t implode either.

I am planning to practice being more at peace with not needing to do everything for everyone right away. Things can wait or not happen. The rugs can have some dirt for awhile and the emails don’t need instantaneous attention.  I may not get as much done and not as on time but I think I will feel better.  I can wave at the unwrapped chocolates as they whiz by. Either the gods will slow down the conveyor belt in response or I will be fired.  Either way sound good.