G.O. For Change

Changing people, places, and things one blog at a time…

Archive for June 2010

“24”

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Time. Time is ever-changing in relation to what we do; it goes by too slow as we wait to get off work, it flies by when we are having fun, and the child I remember being born, will soon be a teenager, and it leaving me wondering:

Where did the time go?

I love television; the shows that I watch have kept my attention for hours on end. I have watched shows before going to work, before I go to sleep, after meals, even when I don’t have the time. Currently, I have started to watch the hit series “24”, in which the hero,Jack Bauer, undergoes many events in the course of one day. The season is broken up into 24 episodes, each show representing one hour. At this very moment, I am watching an episode in with the following events occurring:

  1. Jack  is trying to find his daughter, only to realize that she has been kidnapped, and that the  captors are forcing him to follow their commands.
  2. A public official running for president of the U.S. has his life threatened, only to find out that his son was involved in killing of a person who raped his sister, and now the government official must decide whether to be truthful, or cover it up.
  3. Jack’s wife has been kidnapped as well.
  4. Jack’s daughter and wife are attempting to escape from the area from which they are held hostage.
  5. I am deciding what I want for dinner.

 One of these things took more than an hour to get resolved! (Hey, Chinese, Italian, pizza -too many decisions!)

The show constantly has something happening- there isn’t a 10 minute stretch where perhaps Jack is looking at music videos on YouTube, someone is filling out their timesheets or on a smoke break— nope!  Assassinations, kidnappings, and shooting non-stop!

Urgency in this show is a constant. I hardly see anyone walking, or even typing slowly. That’s because everyone knows what is at stake, and that the results of not getting things done would be tragic. At times, we do that, but not with as much urgency as we could. We procrastinate, postpone, and delay. Unfortunately, some things never get done. We now disrespect the present that we live in.

Another show that I enjoyed watching was the show “Lost”. Lost was a show about a plane crash landing on an island, and the events that happened on that island. In this show, a guy by the name of Desmond, who, while on the island, had one job; every 108 minutes, he had to enter a series of numbers…OR THE WORLD WOULD END!!! Imagine if that was you; would you not have the urgency to make sure that this task was done everyday? There would be no “I’ll do it tomorrow”or “I’m tired”, because there would be no room for excuses. If we applied that same idea to our lives, more stuff would get done. Items would be finished, errands ran, and lists completed if we knew how serious the results would be if we didn’t.

Phrases like “Life is short”, “Just do it”, and “Carpe Diem” have been seen on shirts, commercials, and said millions of times. While we have all heard these phrases, has it really hit home to us? Imagine, if you will, the higher power that you believe in (God, Allah, Buddha, etc.) came down to you and said “You know what, normally I don’t inform people when they leave this Earth, but —you will be leaving this Earth in 5 years.” How would you react to that? Would you still procrastinate? Would you still put off that thing that you wanted to do? Would you take that trip that you wanted? Would you mend that relationship that you have been meaning to fix? Would you act with urgency in fulfilling your dreams?  Langston Hughes talks about dreams being put to the back burner in his poem “Dream Deferred”:

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

 

I have wanted to write a book for at least 6 months. I really believe in the book that I have in my mind is a great book. I have even applied the idea of the book to friends, who really benefited from what I had to say. It wasn’t until someone helped me understand the possible result of if I did not write my book. I imagined a person who really needed the information walk into the bookstore where my book  should have been in, walk past the aisle where my book should have been located, and browse through the shelf that my book would have been on. The person goes home, and never benefits from what could have happened. I have already started writing the book.

Here is some help in being consistent and completing things that you have set forth to do:

  • Prioritize your assignments/tasks: When completing assignments/tasks, get in the habit of beginning with the most difficult subject or task.  You’ll be fresh and have more energy to take them on when you are at your best.  For more difficult activities, try to be flexible: Ask yourself “What subject has always caused you problems?
  •  Achieve “stage one”–get something done!: The Chinese adage of the longest journey starting with a single step has a couple of meanings:  First, you launch the project!  Second, by starting, you may realize that there are some things you have not planned for in your process.   Another adage is that “perfection is the enemy of good”, especially when it prevents you from starting! Given that you build in review, roughly draft your ideas and get going!  You will have time to edit and develop later. What is a first step you can identify for an assignment to get yourself started?
  •  Postpone unnecessary activities until the work is done!: Postpone tasks or routines that can be put off until your tasks are finished!  This can be the most difficult challenge of time management.  As learners we always meet unexpected opportunities that look appealing, then result in poor performance on a test, on a paper, or in preparation for a task. Distracting activities will be more enjoyable later without the pressure of deadlines.  Think in terms of pride of accomplishment. Instead of saying “no” learn to say “later”. What is one distraction that causes you to stop completing your goals?
  •  Use your free time wisely: Think of times when you can work on your goals, when you aren’t doing what you are required to do (i.e. work, child rearing, etc.). The bottom line is to put your time to good use. What is one example of applying free time to completing your goals?
  • Make a list: Each morning, on a 3 X 5 index card, I write down the things I need to do. I categorize the things by work, home, and things that I need to do for myself, such as buy shoes. It is a great feeling to cross of things that you completed. I challenge you for one week to make a list of things that you need to do daily, and cross them out as you go. I guarantee that you will feel better, and look forward to finishing more of the things you needed to do.
  •  Don’t waste time: Imagine if there was a stopwatch that followed you around all day, and it would start when you were wasting time. How much time would you have wasted? Seconds turn into minutes, which turn into hours, which turn into “I never had the chance to do __________________ (insert meaningful activity).  If you know you could be more productive, then BE more productive. Pretty easy right?

If you look back at my first blog entitled “Birthday Wishes”, you will see  in the chart of developmental stages, toward the middle, and near the end of life, we face issues of not being productive, as well as regret. These are self-generated feelings; the only person that can make you feel unproductive is YOU. Everyday we can be productive, just by acting on things we should do. If you want to go back to school, then by all means, GO! Sometimes, we have to realize when we are standing in our own way. I believe that regret is the worst feeling in the world. Why? It is because while time heals all wounds- grief, broken hearts, anger, etc., regret is something that can become more pungent with time. The things that you did not do as a kid may haunt you as you are in the last years of your life.

Recently, a friend told me, “it’s not what you THINK, it is what you DO that will be remembered”; how profound was that! After reading this blog, I challenge you (yes you!) to jot down the things that you want to do while you still have time left (most people refer to this as a bucket list). What are some things that you could do immediately? What are some things that require more time? Make these things a reality, and not just words scribbled on a paper. Start today! CARPE DIEM! As always, thanks for reading.

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Written by Garry O'Neal Jr.

June 23, 2010 at 7:37 pm

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