CC360 Blog

Time Out?

“It’s like there’s a clock ticking non-stop inside my head.”

Time can be an immensely valuable asset… and simultaneously a veritable prison of constraints. Awareness allows us to optimize our days… while trapping us into the never-ending task of pursuing such optimization. It provides foundational structure on which we can enhance our futures… but in the process endangers our joy in the moment.

For 50+ years, the clock served me extraordinarily well, as it no doubt has many of you. The silent, yet unrelenting tick-tick-tick of each passing moment ensured my days were filled with action, progress, and accomplishments. My watch tracked the return on every moment invested, each mile run (along with accompanying pace, heart rate, zone and more). It measured every step taken, examined my sleep, resting heart rate, and progress toward each new goal. My trusty watch even kept me on track during a purposeful 365 consecutive days of 10,000+ steps a few years back. It was my coach, my guide, my manager and my constant companion. In the process, it also resulted in me missing many of the treasures hiding in plain sight along the way… until June 28th, 2023.

Suzanna and I were pulling our paddleboards off the Jeep for a little time together on the lake when the realization hit. During our previous outing, I’d been more focused on the watch (and frankly silly data regarding how far I’d paddled, heart rate, etc.) than on the beautiful setting with my favorite person in the world. I removed my watch, left it behind and, with rare exceptions, never put it back on.

Obviously, I still live in the real world with meetings and commitments where time plays a role, but phone alarms (especially this one from MJ’s years in Chicago!) keep me on track there. Otherwise – no watch. Not while running, working, sleeping or enjoying weekends/downtime. Any guesses about what’s happened to that clock ticking inside my head?

It’s been an interesting experiment that clearly isn’t for everyone. For me, it’s enhanced my creativity, awareness, focus (on this moment instead of the next), sleep, relationships, and life. However, it’s important to keep in mind the extreme nature of my historical relationship with time. Maybe you’re on the other side of the coin and instead need to remove the snooze button – not the clock – from your life. Or maybe your next step forward involves a completely different area of life but one with a solution as simple as leaving the watch behind.

The unique answers for each one of us are there. It’s up to us to take the (often obvious but uncertain) steps forward.

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