Why I don’t teach time management…
We in the modern world are obsessed with time. We tell time, keep time, mark time, fill time, kill time – some even do time. We have alarm clocks, atomic clocks, cuckoo clocks, pocket watches, and stopwatches. We consult chronicles, registries, annals, journals, time sheets, timecards, logs, datebooks, date slips, and timetables. Time obsesses us, time possesses us.
It was not so for the ancients. Farmers were concerned with little more than the seasons and the changing weather the seasons brought with them. The average person didn’t know even what year it was. Longer spans of time were definitely beyond their comprehension. Peasants appearing before the Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century could not say, when asked, how old they were. These people were as intelligent as we are, but most members of society just didn’t think that measuring time was very important.
The two groups for which it was important were the astronomers and priests. In antiquity, the two were often the same – often called magi or astrologers. For them, time was sacred. The astronomical bodies by which time was measured were created by God. Keeping track of time was a sacred, priestly task. This gave rise to festival calendars. We still follow festival calendars whenever we observe Ramadan, Passover, or Easter.
Since I left the Roman Catholic seminary in 1972 and left the “priestly” stuff largely behind me, I don’t think that I need to be so obsessed with time. However, as a PR professional, I do like to have things organized and “ready to go.” I now find that I have to keep track of time for classes, events, and meetings a bit more closely. I am actually beyond punctual. I nearly always arrive early.
For things that don’t require such precision, I take my time doing and take my time in completing. I’d rather do a good job than a fast one. It matters more to me that something gets accomplished than it does when it gets accomplished.