8:00 a.m., my office phone sprang to life. It was the CPA. The pressure was on. Not only was I required to reconcile the bank account, which should have been finished weeks ago, he asked me to “snug up the cash” and balance the statement that I had just received.
That early in the day I wanted to rush to the coffee pot (guzzle the whole thing?), turn down the air conditioning in anticipation of sweat production, and I pondered what else I might do to make the day seem less daunting. Pamper me, baby. As I looked at the mountains of work growing by the day on my desk I felt little hope. How was I to do this? What would be the outcome if I didn’t complete what I needed to do today?
After hours of putting out spot fires, I clocked in early from lunch with heavy dread rolling in the pit of my stomach. I fell into silent prayer, “Father, I know this is not the most important thing to pray for, but I practically need a miracle. Please help me stay calm so I can finish this today.”
My co-worker made faces through the glass, “Don’t look so serious. You’ll wrinkle your forehead.” Was that meant as humor? Yes. He was right. Relax those facial muscles, woman. You know how to do it, start at the forehead, feel the tension loosen in your eyebrows and next work on your eyes. That’s the ticket, keep on going. Slacken the jaw. There, you have it.
I got the first statement completed. I was in awe when I glanced through my office window into the lobby. The hands of the serious-looking industrial wall clock had barely moved. A rush of encouragement filled my veins. I can do this!
I dived into the second statement knowing that I had enough time to complete it if I held a positive frame of mind. I never looked at the clock again. Not only did I finish that long-dreaded task, but I also sorted through plans for the next day. It was then that I heard the excited voices of people gathering in the hall outside my door. What in the world was going on in the middle of the afternoon? Then, they left the building, every one of them!
I squinted through the glass and broke out in laughter at what I saw, the old clock was standing still. It had quit working three hours earlier! It was time to go home.
Pure joy filled my heart, and then the lesson came to light.
- Trust myself.
- Notice where and when procrastination begins (and make it end).
- Prayer is always key.
- Relaxing is smart and necessary.
The biggest lesson of all — the clock means little.
What have we lost in our lives by clock watching? We watch the hours and minutes rush by, and we push for deadlines, but we shove forward in the opposite direction. We make terrible choices when we feel stress. Instead of feeling motivated, we select the road of procrastination, the fastest way to get the most done, which leaves us ignoring what we view as particularly time-consuming or difficult. Where does this get us? Tired bones that want to drop in a chair and do nothing, leaving a cluttered mess of what remains, and crumbled pieces that fall through the cracks.
I challenge you to try setting an alarm or reminder and stop watching time move by. Slow down. Have faith. Do not set the outcome of your life by the clock.
The biggest benefit — a positive enjoyment of life and work, and real accomplishment.