The Employers' Association

The Employers’ Association (TEA) is a not-for-profit employers’ association, formed in 1939, with offices in Grand Rapids serving the West Michigan employer community. We help more than 600 member companies maximize employee productivity and minimize employer liability through human resources and management advice, training, survey data, and consulting services.

TEA is in the business of helping people. This blog is intended to address human issues, concerns and the things that impact people - be they self-perpetuated or externally imposed. Feel free to respond to the thoughts presented here, for without each other, we are nothing!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

MEASURING THE TRUE VALUE OF YOUR TIME

Though time is seemingly in abundance when we have nothing to do, it passes far too quickly when we would prefer it to stand still.  We seem to worry more about how quickly we can finish the race than we do about the joy found along the way – or even the satisfaction derived from simply crossing the finish line so we can rest before beginning a new race.  People tend to worry about things they cannot control rather than identifying the things over which they do have influence.  They fear there is too little time to slow down because there is so much to be done – effectively eliminating their ability to appreciate the things they might find or see if they around them had they simply shifted focus from their destination to the road upon which they were travelling.   We often find ourselves slaves to the clock we so desperately seek to master when we keep ourselves busy to the point of exhaustion (without realizing or recognizing that “being busy” does not always mean we are efficient or productive).

I have heard many people complaining about their lemons rather than celebrating the opportunity to make lemonade.  Rather than finding satisfaction in their PROGRESS, some see only what has not been finished due to a lack of time – or what they wish they had rather than what they actually possess.  Rather than saying “good job” when someone finishes a task, they are quick to point out “what else” has yet to be accomplished.  We have become a nation of complainers – bringing others down in order to make ourselves look better RATHER THAN elevating ourselves in order to pull others up with us.  We take so much time making ourselves look better than others that we lose track of the time we could be using to fulfill our own individual potential.

Before we rush to judge, criticize or question others – minimizing the results of their efforts – take time to ask WHY someone may have chosen the path they took or acted as they did.  If doing something differently might produce a far superior result with less effort and/or time being invested (and it is not too late to “undo what has been done”), offer advice and counsel rather than critically dismissing another’s action as being worthless, wrong or misguided (either implicitly or explicitly).  Providing fish gives someone a meal – teaching them to fish feeds them for a lifetime.  Take the time to foster and create autonomy in others rather than encouraging their dependency upon you – any “short term strokes” sacrificed will return HUGE dividends in the future through the quality and quantity of work produced independently by others – ensuring a better utilization of the limited time we are all provided.

Some measure life by counting the number of breaths they take.  Might a better measure of life be tracking the number of moments that take our breath away?  Some worry so much about what must yet to be done that they lose track of what has been accomplished.  Some focus more on the destination than they do on beginning their journey – or on what they might see along the way.  We far too often forget that a new beginning NEVER occurs until an end has been realized – that we cannot arrive at a new place (or accomplish a new experience) until we leave our “present” as we journey towards our “future” (and that once a “future” has been achieved, it becomes a new “present” from which to embark).
 
Too many individuals live in the memory of their past, seeking the comfort of what once was rather than opportunities not yet realized (or possibly, not yet even considered).  They tend to hold on to what they have, refusing to make room in their lives for what they long to have.  Time is not stagnant – it does not wait for anyone – so we must manage our lives to maximize the opportunities we have during the precious little time we have been provided.  Unless we remember and consider our past just long enough to leverage our experiences so we can enjoy our present just long enough to be fulfilled, we will never be able to anticipate and plan for a future of “not yet realized” opportunities that will allow us to bring our dreams to fruition as we fully utilize our time.

Spend time this summer immersing yourself in the beauty of your surroundings.  Seek solace in the cry of a gull or find joy in the laughter of a child. Value every moment as you travel this earth – for the moments become years (which pass much too quickly) as we pass through this life.  Our time is far too short to dwell in one place for too long – rather we should seek all that might be possible and act to attain what we can by accomplishing those things within our control. We must take the time to appreciate not only that we will arrive but also how we choose to travel and what we might find along the way if we are to master our time rather than be mastered by it.  Though we cannot alter the seasons, we can stop chasing blindly the hands of time as they race relentlessly around the clock.  We must recognize that each morning reveals a new day and each evening closes but a chapter within our book of life – a continuum having no clear beginning and, as long as we are living, no definitive end.