By: Abbie Kilgore
I find myself feeling like I have no time. Whether its class or work or other commitments, I feel like my time is being taken away from me. If I’m in class, I can’t enjoy it because I am trying to retain information. If I’m at work, I can’t enjoy it because work is not relaxing. If I’m fulfilling my other commitments through meetings and events, I can’t enjoy myself because I’m on someone else’s time. In between those blocks of used time, I feel as if I’m being drained.
But if I were to drop all of those things, not be involved in anything, would that be better? To not ever have the opportunity to learn in class, to not have any way to make an income, to not have an outlet through being a part of something – that sounds like a waste of time. So it seems we must make a choice between feeling completely used up, or completely underutilized. How do we handle either? There is a balance that lies within our perspective. The lens through which we see things changes what we take from the picture.
It is too easy to become caught up in our own comfort and our own desires that we begin to lose value in our work. We begin to think that our work is stagnant – that it doesn’t affect anyone around us. We fall into the belief that our attitude doesn’t change the environment we are in. And that lie completely undermines the way we see ourselves. If we belittle the impact that we might have on our surroundings, we belittle our worth.
Becoming so engulfed with our time and how we want to use it turns our focus away from others and places it solely on us. I find that the times I am most exhausted are the times when I don’t consider others or what is going on around me. When I am solely concerned about my to-do’s or even just the things that I want to do (shout out to Netflix binging), all of my energy is focused on serving myself. You’d think that if I only had to worry about myself, that worry would be manageable. Yet the truth of the matter is so contrary to our feelings. It seems as if we weren’t programmed to be all about ourselves.
Think about the times you weren’t concerned with your schedule. When you decided to give of yourself to those around you. Did you feel like that was time wasted? My guess is that you felt more energized, encouraged, and purposeful in those moments than you did when you were overwhelmed with your obligations.
Serving others doesn’t mean we’ll neglect our own obligations. What would happen if we used our work to serve others? If we decided to go into our obligations with the intention of using our work to build others up, I believe that our time would not seem to be something we are constantly losing. We add value to our work when we use it to dignify others. And when we see our work as valuable, it can’t be seen as a waste, which is a lot less exhausting than when we think our work is meaningless.
The way you use your time is important. Your time is worthy of doing something great – of making a change in your environment. You are capable. You are an influencer. Don’t fall into the trap of believing your work is a waste. The time you put into it can create something valuable, something that enhances the lives of those around you. It isn’t wasted.