About TimeI’m hanging out in a local mall writing this while my wife has a session with her acupuncturist a couple of miles away. I’m fascinated as I sit here watching folks mosey by with no apparent purpose other than to mosey. “How do they do that?”

Image: Alan via Flickr, CC 2.0

I’m also reminded of a somewhat terrifying, ultimately rewarding, experience I had as a college sophomore. I had transferred to a junior college closer to home after a less-than-stellar year at Auburn University to which I had ventured fully intending to become the world’s greatest civil engineer. Instead, I:

*Set a new personal low in grade achievement
*Partied my brains out
*Fine-tuned my pool shooting skills
*Not so much on the academic side of the river, however

Needless to say, my parents were less than thrilled.

I dutifully decamped to Middle Georgia College to do some grade-repair and try to figure out just exactly what I wanted to accomplish in college…and life.

So, I’m hanging in the hallway one day in between classes with, as I describe to my Public Relations Concentration disciples at Curry College, “my finger stuck in my ear, doing nothing.”

Along comes my English Lit professor who promptly (and literally) grabs me by the nape of my neck, drags me into his office, and slams a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” into my hands with these words: “I don’t ever want to see you standing around wasting time again.”

Wow! First off, someone actually cared about my educational development! And I also found that I actually felt more productive when I was doing something.

I know that sounds awfully “Duh,” but…

Flash forward 50 years as I sit here today writing this post with life bustling all around me. I don’t feel pressured to be doing this. And I’m getting doggoned good at “multitasking”…writing, watching, and listening simultaneously! Plus, I am very relaxed and at ease.

The lesson here, grasshopper, is that you can enjoy life and still accomplish a lot without making yourself crazy.

I’m not suggesting creating major overload here, and I’ve talked about this in previous posts. You start by getting a handle on your work-life saturation point. Pay attention to things like feelings of “I can’t deal with this anymore,” and recognize that however much you’re doing at that point in time is probably the upper level of your comfort zone.

It takes some practice. I’ve had some spectacular flame-outs in my time when I added “just one more thing” to my backpack…seriously missed some important deadlines…and spent some “quality time” in my president’s office.

The end result is that you will find yourself able to accomplish more than before with less stress and aggravation.

You’ll be happy with yourself. And, no surprise, your superiors as well as your co-workers will develop a greater respect for your capabilities as a professional and as a human being.

To those of you who already have grabbed your iPads and are feverishly banging out a “Kirk, you idiot. You’re suggesting that we totally give up on fun and relaxation.” Nope, quite the contrary.

I’m advocating for a lifestyle balance that enables you to check things off your “to-do” list while allowing yourself to relax, brew a nice cup of tea, and enjoy life for what it is… “life.”

It’s about “time,” don’t you think?!?

(In closing, a tip of the hat to Professor Bob Hill Anderson, who took the time to show a budding lay about how to truly enjoy life…and Kahlil Gibran!)

Kirk Hazlett

Kirk Hazlett

Professor at Curry College
Kirk Hazlett, APR, Fellow PRSA, holds the position of Associate Professor, Communication/ Public Relations, at Curry College. He also is a member of the Public Relations Society of America's Board of Ethics and Professional Standards. Kirk has 35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience, followed by nearly 10 years' undergraduate- and graduate-level college teaching experience. Some of the organizations he has counseled include the Blood Bank of Hawaii, Medical Area Service Corporation and Boston Harborfest. He blogs at A Professor's Thoughts.
Kirk Hazlett