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"Time is Just a Construct We Assign Value To", So Is Time Valuable?

Wow, do I sound douchey with that title! But it’s true. Every once in a while, the douchey comments get it right. 

Sometimes the feeling of waiting even 60 seconds is brutal. But then we get in the car and drive 50 minutes away for a specific store or experience.

Yesterday afternoon, I met someone who valued my time more than I did. And I was shocked.

I am a generally impatient person. I hate my time being wasted and I hate even more feeling like I wasted my own time. I read books on productivity and efficiency. I am currently two thirds of the way through Matthew Dicks’ “Someday is Today” and I am loving it. The incredible nuggets of inspiration I get from books like that gets me to fit in reading a few pages here and there, every day until they are done. Another great one is “The 12 Week Year”. It changed how I approach my life and my businesses.

But back to my time. When I say I am impatient, I mean I am the person who will walk faster to cut a few extra seconds off of my transit time. I am the person who will set cruise control at 11 miles over the speed limit because I can shave off minutes on every drive. I habit stack, all the time. I fold laundry between lifting sets while I catch my breath, which is also why I never want to give up a home gym. It allows me to be so much more productive with my minutes and seconds.

When I am in the kitchen, I will be taking vitamins with one hand while filling up water with the other. This sometimes results in water spilled on the floor so this stack may not be working in my favor...

I listen to podcasts or talk on the phone while I am in the shower. I have even managed to accidentally train my brain to work out all of my anxieties and fears while I sleep, instead of bogging down my days. Every time a new productivity hack shows itself, I give it a try. Most of them stick because they work.  

Part of the reason Matthew Dicks’ book resonates so well with me is that it gives me clarity. What I and everyone around me likes to characterize as impatience or an existence inspired by the energizer bunny is really me valuing my time more than the average person. Much more it seems. 

I love my time. I try to guard my time. But I really have only started doing this within the last few years. 

I protect my mornings. I protect my exercise time. I protect my quality time with loved ones. I protect my time to catch up with friends. I could write about each of these, and I probably will. 

Yet for all my love of my time. There are many moments in which I am in no hurry at all and just happy to exist. They are not associated with any particular thing or feeling. They spread across a wide range. I have not quite figured out why they pop up. 

My more cynical people will say it's burn out or exhaustion. But I do not feel tired or burned out in those moments. I have a calm clarity. Almost a zen-like feeling. Maybe I’ve tapped into a new form of meditation. 

The most recent was this weekend when we took a 51-minute drive to Cabela’s because there are no Cabela's closer to Pittsburgh. Then we waited 10 minutes to be checked in with the rifle we brought. Then we spent over 2 hours on what could have been a 20-minute experience.

I notice the time. And when I am in "go-mode", the 10-minute check in wait would have been excruciating for me. I would have been making a mental note of all the stops I needed to make in the store so that I could get the entire trip done in 10 minutes. Thereby keeping our overall trip to the absolutely necessary 20-minutes. 

This is how I shop. I do not find joy in walking the aisles of a store and browsing. It feels like such an epic waste of time and ultimately of money. Because how often do you really need what you just browse for? The answer is never. We may justify the purchase. But that does not mean we need it. 

So here we are, at the front of one of the coolest stores to exist. If you have been to one of the massive Cabela’s that are mini exhibits with animals on display, an aquarium and the equivalent of an adult playground, you will know what I am talking about. If you have not had the pleasure, google it. 

We are not allowed past the cash registers yet because someone from the gun section needs to check us in with our rifle. We’re there primarily to get a new scope for it and pick up a few items for a bird hunt next week. 

A kind middle aged woman, who walks with effort and seems just a bit uncomfortable with existence in general, leads us to the closest table to wait. She tells us someone will be right up to check us in and then speaks into the microphone clipped to her collar. She says a few names and asks them to come up to the front. She waits for a response that does not come. Rising on her tippy toes to try to look over all the registers and aisles to the gun section, as if she could see that far or raise herself up tall enough to find the people she is naming. Having no luck, she tries calling their names into her microphone again and explaining the simple task needed. She is exasperated and "tsks" a few times as she waits.

I can see her getting more agitated by the minute. She turns to us apologizing profusely for making us wait. But on this day, I am in no hurry, so we try to let her know there is nothing to worry about and we appreciate her effort. She apologies again. We tell her it is more than okay because it is a Sunday afternoon, and we have time. 

Who am I?! But my calm mind is feeling no stress about the few extra minutes. I'm taking in everything in the store and doing mental calculations of what I am willing to spend. I'm good on time.

As I watch her completely ignore our calm attitudes in favor of the stress that is mounting in her head, I wonder what this little delay by her colleagues is getting in the way of for her. I am pulled out of my musings when I hear her testily tell anyone listening over the microphone that customers have been waiting for 15 minutes and our time is valuable.  

I am torn between being disappointed by the exaggeration of our time which will inevitably pass stress on to whoever she is speaking to, while also feeling immense gratitude for her assumption that our time is valuable. 

It is valuable. I believe that and appreciate that there is a customer service woman in front of us who is trying to respect that notion. 

We are from 2 different walks of life entirely. She is a different age, has different habits, grew up differently, a different career path, a different life in all respects. Yet, I feel a strong connection and deep appreciation for her as a human. She gets me. Without me ever having to ask for that understanding. 

We’re still waiting for her colleague to walk up from the gun section to sign us and the rifle in. So, I pull out my phone and decide to habit stack. 

I opened Google. 

Found the Cabela’s we’re in. 

And I submitted a Google Review about Courtnay. 

If she can guard my time so strongly, I will use that time to leave her a good review.

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