Let’s Talk About Out of Whack Time Based Expectations

It didn’t happen overnight but somewhere over the years we stopped, stopping. It used to be customary to stop, or to relax, even for a minute.

In many ways, little breaks were automatically built into our day because the world moved much slower and we didn’t put so much pressure on time pressed productivity. The check really was in the mail and it took at least 4 days to get anywhere. There was an expectation of waiting. There was an understanding that everything took time. We weren’t so impatient and that alone gave us time to pause.

Today, technology, excess choice and unrealistic 24/7 expectations keep us in overdrive and it can get pretty chaotic on a regular basis. As we move faster and faster, our perception of how much time things take becomes more and more distorted. We used to “stop to smell the flowers.” Now we “stop to smell the coffee”, only while we drink it so we can get back to work or whatever we are doing to get more done– and we never get it all done, do we?

In an absurd contradiction, technology has made our lives more complicated by making everything so convenient, accessible and fast. Email, instant messaging and social networking are the definition of a modern paradox. While fast and accessible, they are also some of the biggest time bandits we face today. There is little that sucks up time faster than constantly trying to empty the inbox. At the same time, social networking has turned six degrees of separation into one degree and has made everyone the star, writer, producer and director of their own reality show. It’s also spawned a whole new way of doing business and a whole new layer to how society interacts. It can be exhilarating, exhausting and necessary. One thing is for sure, it takes time but where does it fall on an already full priority time line?

Because the Internet is here all the time, it feels like the same is expected of us. This creates the pressure to respond and the stress to produce, in an instant. There is a cultural distortion that implies “if you don’t respond quickly, you don’t care . . . if you don’t produce immediately, you’re not on top of things.” I remember when it was expected that smart business proposals took time to construct, write and present (in the long lost method of “in person”). Now, we are sent a request for proposal, expected to see it the minute it hits the inbox and further, expected to drop everything else (also urgent, of course) to ensure it’s immediate response (via email). Gone are realistic time based expectations and face to face communication. The new deadline is “due yesterday” and not only do we speak with our fingertips, but like everything else, they are always in motion.

Relax. Set. Go.
is a perfect partner in an over-extended world.  It gives back the built in pause and that alone makes a crazy day seem more manageable.  Relaxing your mind and body feels good even when everything around you doesn’t.  Even better, when you relax, you actually reboot . . . and that sets you on a path to go for even more!

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