When you think of the best possible gift you could give someone, what comes to mind?
A diamond ring for a girl? A Ferrari for a guy? An around-the-world holiday for a couple, all expenses paid?
I wouldn’t say no to any of the above, but instead I’ll quote a very good friend of mine and say those things are “nice, but not quite what I’m looking for”.
The greatest gift you could give someone is your time.
Minutes spent texting, emailing or phoning, and hours shared over a face-to-face catch up are what I value and appreciate most. I see these as an exchange of gifts, as you choose to spend your time with me, and I choose to spend my time with you.
As I get older and time ticks away, it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
I’m a realist, and I know that with each minute that passes I have less time in my life to spend. So while I’ve got it, I want to give it to my friends, family, colleagues etc as best I can.
It’s so easy to be drawn into the habit of multi-tasking and doing stuff that can wait (like the ironing) while also doing something that really matters and deserves our full attention (like consoling a friend on the phone who’s just lost her mother).
For heaven’s sake. Put the iron down and give your friend 100 per cent of you.
My DNA is designed to get the most out of every minute so it’s natural for me to juggle – as it is for many of us. The challenge then, is to be aware of when that is and isn’t appropriate. It’s the awareness I want to master.
That brings me to my point. Because time is the greatest gift, I have outlawed four words from my vocabulary. They are four words I hear in the workplace more than any other. Do you find yourself saying these too?
I don’t have time.
Or “I didn’t have time” or “I ran out of time”.
When I hear these words, what I’m really hearing is “I don’t have time for you“.
We all have time, it’s just how we choose to spend it. Yes?
I’d rather hear “I didn’t get around to it”; or “I’m still working on it”; but I cringe when I hear “I didn’t have time”.
It’s an unfinished sentence, don’t you think?