I was recently sent an article on Time Affluence, by Arianna Huffington, defining the term as a new metric for defining success. Along with our success and wealth, the currency of time needs to be addressed as something that we can earn and spend, not something that constantly works against us.
We've heard it before from motivational speakers and coaches, the reminder that everyone is provided the same amount of time each day, that it is up to us to manage our time and set priorities. The concept of "time affluence" reminds us that simply managing our time well and getting lots done can be a self-defeating pursuit. We all know the person in our lives who has kids, juggles two jobs, has time for fitness, has home-improvement projects and runs a charity. We aspire to be productive and we also know the dreaded feeling that racing around completing our checklists leaves us. As we become more productive and incorporate more life hacks and smartphone apps to keep us accountable, the need for decompression becomes critical.
Arianna Huffington calls it a "time famine" - the feeling of being rushed, crammed into our own existence with time saving strategies. While I do recommend the use of certain productivity tools, I know that the pursuit of productivity can often be fruitless and stressful. Our societal disease is one plagued by stimulus and consumption, breadth without depth. Moving slower and giving yourself time will actually allow you to gain more momentum in your life.
In fitness, we jump into things very quickly and strive to transform from couch potatoes to elite level two-a-day gym rats. A poor analogy I will use in this case is baking a frozen chicken. Fire up the oven and stick in non-thawed bird and you will be left with a roasted bird which has not changed on the inside. How does this tie into "time affluence"? I believe that the term has to do with giving yourself time to grow, to develop habits, to establish processes.
Remember that time is a construct. A solar day is a very tangible unit of time, however time can move fast or slow for any individual. We witness this in jobs that we hate - the days are slow, but the months fly by. Perhaps it is within this paradox that we can find some meaning in life. The happy days are ones we remember, ones we have earmarked with memories. These were long months, with moments that we are able to relive, but at the same time, the hours within those days went by quickly. We all remember our vacations, our first months at new jobs, the first few months living in new places, the time around significant events. These are times when we couldn't sit on autopilot, as uncertainty prevailed and required us to experience more and zone out less. This lesson is directly related to time. If you allow yourself to slow down and not simply let busy-ness consume your time affluence, the moments will remain significant.
By creating time affluence for yourself, you are disconnecting from the collective drain that time famine has. Fill your days with events where time is not rushed and your life will become more full and engaging. Stop being so busy and start living more rich (with time that is).
Steven Kotler on reaching flow states by slowing down your brain: