How was your summer?

Did you create the opportunity to kick back and relax a bit? It always interests me that we American so often see our lives as divided neatly into segments. We have our work time, our vacation time, at our home time, our time with friends, and our time alone. Time, Time, Time.

I remember when I was in law school how I vowed that I would never work at a place where I had to log my time in 1/10th-hour increments. Fortunately, I never had to. Nonetheless, I did allow my conception of time to dictate many aspects of my life. I was the guy who always had to get things done…pronto. Keep the “to do” list short was my mantra. And while it was effective in many ways this view was extremely damaging to my physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, my relationships – especially with my family, and my view of the world.

Now 10 plus years away from the practice of law I see things differently. I see time as an ally instead of as the enemy. I rarely fight with time – struggling to get the most out of it. Instead, I enjoy it and cherish every moment and all it has to offer.

For example, this weekend our entire family spent the day on Saturday at the Life is Good Festival. We enjoyed the wonderful fall weather, each others company, some great music – Michael Franti, Sarah Barellis, Kidz Bop, and the Fresh Beat Band, to name a few. There were games, cool displays, and very interesting foods to try. Most noticeably, however, was the peaceful vibe that infused Prowse Farm. Thousands of people just grooving around with smiles on their faces. Families laughing and horsing around. People actually going out of their way to be nice and do nice things for and with each other. It was a long and beautiful day.

Then today I noticed a piece on the Harvard Business Review site that caught my eye. It was a report on a study that was done recently. The study looked at the impact on people’s perception of time when they did nice things, especially nice things for others. Bottom line – when folks do nice things for others, despite how busy they actually are, their perception of time and what can be accomplished in it is shifted in such a way that they feel less
pressured. If you want to read more about the study let me know and I’ll send you a copy of the summary.

And better yet, if you want to experience a shift in how you deal with time, make a point to do something nice for another and see how the rest of your day goes. Let’s face it “the lazy days of summer” have passed. Many folks are back in that “it’s time to make the donut’s” mode.

Wouldn’t you like to shift the balance a little and dial it back? Truth is, according to the study, you will actually get more done with the time you have and feel much better doing it when you devote a little bit of time to serving someone.

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