“While we are postponing, life speeds by” - Seneca, Roman Stoic Philosopher
We each have 168 hours in a week with which to accomplish things. We have to budget time for work, sleep, food, relationships, and leisure. There are plenty of time management books, podcasts, and apps that claim to have the ability to help us get more things done. But the issue isn’t always a time management problem. It’s a person problem. After all, if everyone starts with the same amount of time and has access to the same processes and systems, then why are some productive and others not?
Perhaps we’re trying to keep busy doing the good things at the expense of doing the best things?
The quote from Seneca seems to strike at the heart of the matter. For too many of us, we are simply postponing life. Procrastinating. Putting off until tomorrow that which should be done today. Yet I don’t think Seneca was particularly thinking about postponing productivity or responsibilities; after all, he still had to take care of his daily obligations. Rather, I believe he was referring more to the postponement of our growth, our self-development, of our becoming better people.
The time away from work that we promised to spend with a spouse. The restoration of a friendship. The pursuit of a new hobby we’ve always had an interest in. These are things we should not postpone.
The evening walk to clear our minds. The reduction of the physical clutter that brings mental stress. The quiet practice of prayer, reflection, meditation. These are some activities we should be making time for.
If we continually run ourselves ragged trying to get everything done yet still have so many important things we’ve put off, then we aren’t living.
We’re merely existing.
Perhaps if we slowed down and stopped postponing things we really should be tending to, we might find ourselves actually accomplishing more. Things that have longer lasting value and benefits. Things that bring us more contentment and peace. Things that truly touch our hearts, our minds, our souls.
Maybe then we would no longer feel as if we were simply existing, but finally, living.