Doesn’t it sometimes seem as if we are a nation obsessed with sharing the quotes of famous people? Don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. Sometimes I think we do it because what’s said really strikes a chord. Almost as if they were putting our own thoughts into words. Other times, I’m afraid, it may be more about desperately seeking content for a Twitter feed or Facebook post.
What I find really interesting is our choice of who it is we quote. Some folks are quite prolific in the advice they seem to feel qualified to share with the world. But are they, really?
For example, the following appears to be a statement with a lot of depth. You can imagine students of some great teacher being asked to spend time meditating on how to apply it to their own lives.
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.”
We immediately glance to see who said this. Was it Gandhi? The Dalai Lama? Lao Tzu? No, actually it was Winnie the Pooh. It’s still a great thought and no less worthy of consideration. But…doesn’t it kind of lose something knowing that it came from the same honey-loving yellow bear who also said “If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear”?
I suspect we will all go on happily quoting the loveable Pooh forever. However, there are those who offer opinions that others repeat who happen to be highly acclaimed experts on that particular subject.
Peter Drucker, the well-known economist referred to in BusinessWeek as “the man who invented management,” is the author of the title of this article. The complete quote is:
"Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else."
Drucker spent his very long and successful career studying the dynamics of management principles, especially in relationship to time and people. It was his work with major corporations that changed the prevailing philosophy of looking at workers as liabilities to be used and discarded to seeing them as valuable assets.
Here at Time Timer, one of our primary goals has always been on how to best help our customers manage their time. Whether used in classrooms, boardrooms, sporting events, seminars, presentations, offices or at home, our timers are found wherever folks need to focus on staying on track.
Effectively managing time adds to a company’s bottom line, and supplying tools that help make that possible keeps our own business growing. But Peter Drucker realized at a young age that one’s life work needed to be about more than that. As a student at Harvard, his path was set by something one of his instructors, economist and political scientist, Joseph Schumpeter, said:
"I know that it is not enough to be remembered for books and theories. One does not make a difference unless it is a difference in people's lives."
We often say that “making each moment count” is what defines Time Timer, but making a difference in people’s lives is what motivates and inspires us each and every day.
Seriously, what’s better than fireworks on the 4th of July? After a long hot day of picnics and barbecues with family and friends, the temperature finally begins to drop and the anticipation builds. A muffled “whoosh” is the signal that the show is starting and suddenly the night sky explodes with color! Ooh….
I never fail to make time to see the fireworks shows when I go to Disney and love getting together for a Friday night game at the local minor league baseball stadium because it’s always followed by a surprisingly good fireworks display. But as much as I enjoy those --- and, let’s face it, no one does anything better than Disney --- there’s just something missing if they aren’t on the 4th of July.
If there’s anything we hold especially dear, it’s our belief in independence. We may disagree on pretty much everything else, but since that July 4th in 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia, freedom has been something we cherish, perhaps more than anything else. Fireworks were first used the very next year in celebration of our commitment to independence and it’s that connection that makes the experience what it is.
Obviously, I’m a big fan of fireworks. But, I know that they’re expensive and often quite dangerous. There may come a day when we are forced to let them go and opt for something more tame, like laser light shows. Pretty, but just not the same, you know?
As sad as it would be to never be able to enjoy the sky lighting up with fireworks, it is absolutely nothing compared to the thought of losing independence. Yes, I mean as a nation, but, mostly, I’m talking about personally. As anyone gets older, that becomes a looming fear, probably because, subconsciously, we remember what it was like when we were very young and totally dependent.
When youngsters cry, rebel, throw temper tantrums, it’s often sheer frustration. There can be lots of reasons for that but, in many cases, it’s due to their wanting to do something they don’t yet know how to do or from not knowing what’s expected of them. Their own brand of fireworks comes from a lack of independence!
Time Timer began as a desire for a mom to empower her young daughter. All of our timers and other products are designed to not only teach the concept of elapsed time but to grant freedom from never having enough time. When children and those who learn a little differently are able to “see” how much time is left, it reduces stress and anxiety. This can, literally, be liberating.
For those who respond best to visual cues and need a reminder about what happens when the red is gone on the timer, we have blank timer faces and application stickers. This allows the timer to be customized by using markers to draw pictures on the timer face or add sticker images. A picture of a bus lets your child know that when the red disk hits the bus, it’s time to go to school. Or use the toothbrush to show when it’s time to start getting ready for bed or how long to brush her teeth. There are dozens of images and by using them, you give your child more than a reminder or a deadline. When he looks at the timer and knows what to do without asking or being told, you give him his first taste of independence.
And nothing will ever be the same.
37 seconds doesn’t really seem long enough to do much of anything, does it? Put something in the microwave and set the timer for less than a minute and what do you do? Maybe grab a spoon out of the drawer so that you can be ready to stir. But, otherwise, you just wait, right?
If you saw the movie, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, you know that “just wait” is absolutely the wrong answer! If you didn’t see it, you missed a fairly charming film starring Dustin Hoffman as Mr. Magorium, a 243 year-old toy store owner with a unique outlook on life. Natalie Portman played his young assistant, Molly Mahoney, a role that was a far cry from her Oscar winning performance in Black Swan, which I found really disturbing. Anyway, at one point, Mr. Magorium and Molly are waiting for a clock-store prank to unfold, when Molly says, “Okay, now we wait. Exactly 37 seconds.” To which he replies, incredulously, “No! We breathe! We pulse! We regenerate! Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a LIFETIME!”
Maybe not the most memorable movie, but what he had to say about 37 seconds really stuck with me. How much are we missing out on by wasting small blocks of time that we consider inconsequential?
I have a friend who owns a fitness studio and when she was asked what can be done in 37 seconds, she rattled off a whole list, without even thinking:
Hold your navel to your spine for an isometric crunch.
Read the ingredients on that package of food you’re considering buying --- ask yourself if you really want this in your body.
Give yourself a back-of-the-neck rub.
If you’re sitting at work, stand up and stretch your body.
Get a glass of water and drink some. Put the rest nearby to sip on.
Look away from your work and focus on a distant spot for a few seconds.
Make a list of things to do next time you have 37 seconds to use.
What about you? How big of a list can you build of things to do the next time you have a few extra moments? Obviously, it doesn’t have to be what we consider a traditional block of time. Less than a minute can be enough to ease the tightness in your neck from sitting too long. Or, give your eyes a break from staring at your computer screen.
When I’m really focused on a project, I can be oblivious to how long I’ve been working. Not only does this usually result in stiff shoulders and a dull throb behind my eyes, it’s not even all that productive. I do far better work when I take frequent breaks. These days, I set my Time Timer PLUS for an hour and when the red disk is gone, I make myself take a break --- even if it’s only for a minute. Makes a huge difference for me!
Here at Time Timer, everything we do is about understanding the concept and the management of time. We truly believe in “making every moment count”.
Mr. Magorium would approve, don’t you think?