The Problem with Time

There’s a wonderful quote on time that I think about often:

“Time is free, but it’s priceless.
You can’t own it, but you can use it.
You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.
Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.”
~ Harvey Mackay

I think about this quote, because it’s spot on! Especially the “Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” part. Time is a real problem for, well, for most people, it seems. Have you looked around at all the stressed faces lately? That includes looking at your own stressed face in the mirror when you are brushing your teeth in the morning as you prepare for your day. There’s a lot going on with everyone, everywhere – the masses are constantly on-the-go! Is anyone getting anywhere, or to where they wish to be?!

Has time always been a precious a commodity? Why does it seem like we never can get enough of it? It seems as if we are hungering for more time, every day. More time to…?…do what?…with whom? What’s our priority? Is our priority to acquire more time, or more fill-in-the-blank through more time? …and I thought butterflies were elusive!

Time is relative, I suppose, just like art is subjective. But, we haven’t lost the 24-7-365 element, so we still have as much time as we’ve always had, correct? Then why does it seem like everyone is saying they don’t have enough time?! …including myself! Is that really true, or is it just an illusion; something we’ve bought into so we look successful or established, or…? What on earth (literally) are we doing that is taking up so much of our precious time? Do we even know the answer to that question?

I know for myself, as a sole proprietor of my business, it can be challenging to operate all facets of a business as one person doing it all. There-in lies the problem: thinking that I have to do it all! I don’t and I’ve given myself permission to slow down and: 1. pare down, 2. not be in competition with others, 3. not think that I have to ‘do it all,’ and 4. stop to smell the roses! But I still wish I had more time.

How about you? What are you doing to give yourself more of the time that is there for your taking? How are you adjusting? Are you stepping off the hamster wheel of being busy for busy’s sake? Are your priorities aligned with your heart’s desires?

I recently put a question out to a group of photographers asking them what were their most significant challenges as a photographer. The leading challenge in the thread was time: not enough to spend with family due to work, not enough time off in the summer season to enjoy friends and family, time management when working, balancing how to know what amount of time to spend on a job to make it profitable, time for marketing, time to photograph family and not just clients, not enough time to shoot personal projects.

Notice a theme here? Who can relate? And, how can you relate? What are your time challenges and how are you proposing to solve them?

Most days, I sit in my work chair working and think about getting out to photograph – ‘I should be photographing more.’ is what I consistently say to myself. So, I’m learning not to attach demands on myself if I use my cell phone as a “camera” instead of pulling out my big-girl (inside joke) camera. Instead, I am allowing myself to photograph more no matter what camera tool I’m using. In fact, I’ve been thinking of doing more personal projects where I would use my old film cameras, such as my half-frame and my Polaroids, Holga and Diana cameras – got to devise a plan on paper to make these projects happen though, otherwise they’ll evaporate from my head!

How do you make the time to turn your projects into reality? Are you disciplined enough to make them happen, or do they evaporate?

Let’s share ideas to help spur each other on to use time productively and encourage our greatness together! How do you keep time on your side?

I’ve got a great idea that will be coming up in a future post on how photographers can find more time to do personal projects!  Stay tuned!

Namaste, Joanne Bartone Photographer

  • admin on Aug 07, 2013 Reply

    Hi, David!
    I love your differentiation: “…efficiency is doing things right and effectiveness is doing the right things.” That is an empowering observation. So, then you must have a list of priorities that you work from that identify the “right things” you need to do “right” – yes? That really is a good observation.

    Thank you for reading / commenting.
    I hope we can keep this conversation going. Please share!

    Namaste, Joanne

  • David Dohan on Aug 07, 2013 Reply

    Like what you’ve written. All things get done through the use of resources and all resources are limited. Time is a precious resource. To achieve the outcomes we desire, we need to be efficient and effective. My favorite simple differentiation between the two is that efficiency is doing things right and effectiveness is doing the right things. It seems like our choices (or failure to make choices) about what are the right things to do is where we most often get lost.