Respect Time [5/7]

As I open my eyes at dawn, the blankness in my mind is quickly replaced by a thought: I’m still alive.

Did I dream anything? Not that I can remember. Good. Although dreams are better than nightmares, I always find either of them disturbing.

I check the time on my phone. I do not own a digital clock or a wristwatch. My phone is enough. And it flashes 7am.

That seems early to most, but to me it is almost as if I have overslept. Almost. I have half an hour before the Sun completely rises and detaches from the horizon. So I get up and walk to the bathroom. And then I offer my gratitude to God and do a series of stretches to warm up my stiff body. This takes half an hour.

I never skip breakfast and it is always oats topped with fruits and a mug of hot lemon water. I like to watch a YouTube video whilst eating. And that takes me about 15 minutes.

My mornings are easily structured because they are exclusively my time. The subsequent hours, however, depends on other commitment. Currently, it’s attending lectures and completing assignments, which are governed by other people.

I know my priorities. I have assessed my values. But they don’t quite align with what I am currently doing. And that is my predicament lately especially when relatively important work needs to be done. So it is times like this that I find difficult to maintain balance.

Time is a precious commodity and it is non-renewable.

We all know that we cannot get back time. Yet most of us struggle to use our time wisely. In my case, I guess I was not taught to value time. I had to learn it the hard way, as I suppose that is how crucial lessons are learnt. I am more aware of time and how every moment that I do not indulge in activities I deem valuable is nothing but a waste.

But of course I should not think that. I also believe, albeit paradoxical, that if at least I am doing something, even though I may not see the value in it immediately, I know that it’s contributing to a bigger cause. At least that is what I think to appease myself.

All I have to do is make sure that I spend every waking hour productively. That is easier said than done. I’ve read on many techniques to do work efficiently and so far I have gathered a few tips that might work. First, set activities in blocks. Stick to it. In each block (or hour), spend a full 20 minutes on a task, rest for 10, and repeat. And stick to that.

Of course, I struggle to “stick to that”. Not consistently, at least.

I often find myself saying no to my desire to just continue reading a book or watching informative videos that has nothing to do with the obligated task, which then brought me to think, why am I obligated to spend my time doing such a task in the first place?

But that’s a whole other matter.

The point is that despite knowing the techniques of managing time, I still struggle to be completely productive. But I think that it is mostly because of conflicting interest. I am now so convinced that an activity worth doing is time well-spent, and a task without purpose or value is just pointless and a waste of time.

At this moment, I feel like I am stuck in a rut. I need to keep assessing my purpose. I need to remind myself of my values. And they need to be congruent with my actions. But the current situation does not allow that, not completely at least. Nevertheless, I will keep moving to break free. And when I am free, as I know I will be, only then can I ensure that what I do aligns with what I feel.

Despite the turbulence of any given day, I know that at least my night time is also as consistent as my morning routine. I do the rituals in reverse, except that I stretch only the upper half of my body especially my neck and shoulders. I then switch off the lights, get myself under the blanket, and hug a pillow.

Before I enter the realm of the unconscious, where time does not seem to exist, a rather calming thought creeps into my mind: I may not wake to see daybreak.

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