Govern the clock

A clock adorns the medieval Lakenhalle (Cloth Hall) in Ypres, Belgium, as seen in March 2007

A clock adorns the medieval Lakenhalle (Cloth Hall) in Ypres, Belgium,  March 2007.

“I must govern the clock, not be governed by it.”Golda Meir

As strange as it seems, much of what we think of as “time management” is just one more way of being governed by the clock.  While some principles of time management are useful, such as setting goals and priorities, other advice may end up being counterproductive.  For example, this whole idea of multitasking is taken too far when we get so greedy about packing so much into our lives that we give nothing our full attention.  Rather than having a few very enjoyable projects and hobbies, we take on too much and end up with a vague feeling of stress, pressure, and lack of fulfillment when things go undone.  Rather than enjoying time with one special friend or family member, we feel an illogical urgency to make ourselves available every waking hour to anyone with our cell or text number.

Whether we are managing money or time, if we lose sight of them as means to an end, we wind up with the tail wagging the dog.  Zealously plotting to squeeze 25 hours into every day often means that we push too hard to relax or enjoy anything, defeating the whole purpose of planning our time.  I plead guilty to being one of the worst offenders when it comes to wanting to do too much.  It goes with the territory of loving many things.  But age does confer certain benefits, one of which is the absolute necessity of slowing down; achieving less but savoring more.

Time for Living” is a favorite old song from the 60’s by a group called The Association.  I’ve sung this song to myself often over the many years since I used to play it on my record player with my brother’s LP.  One of my favorite lines from the song says “I took off my watch, and found I had all the time in the world.” Though no one would ever accuse me of being a workaholic, I do get stressed about time far more than I should.

Today, I hope we can all use the clock as a tool to help us enjoy life more, rather than allowing it to be a tyrant poking us in the backside with a stick, telling us to HURRY UP and keeping us from paying attention as our life ticks away.  Whatever you are doing today, take five! or ten! or maybe even an hour or two — and just enjoy something.  Feel free to tell us about it in the comments below.


  1. Carolyn

    We’er off to Jennifer’s and we will lose a hour of time today. You all have a great week. Love to all.

    • Thanks Carolyn, have a wonderful time!

  2. Carlyle

    Your mother is the most avid multitasker I have ever met. She will assign three tasks which must be accomplished simultaneoisly!!

    • Daddy, it sounds as if she delegates the multi-tasking to others! I think since she has been unable to walk the past few years, she feels like she has to make sure everyone else makes up for all the work she can no longer do. I hope you will do as the doctors say and tell her you MUST slow down. I don’t want you to end up back in the hospital! It’s nice to have you back online.

  3. Michael Bertoglio

    This one takes me back a ways. I graduated in 68″ from High School and that was a tumultous year. Dr. King was shot in April just before graduation and there were others. The association song, “Cherish” was a favorite. I did not remember the song you posted. There was another song by a British group – the Kinks” “Now is the time for living -loving?” Something like that. With cell phones- I wonder if we need watches any more. I took mine off about two years ago and can always check in with my ever-present phone.
    I am reading a great Pat Conroy “My reading life.” He has a great chapter on, “Gone With the Wind,” and how it shaped his life as a child of the south. I need to read it again or at least watch the movie. He calls Mitchell’s work the ,”greatest posthumous victory of the South.” I think you might enjoy his book if you have not already read it. He is such a wonderful writer- Prince of Tides, Water is wide, The Great Santini and he has chapters on each of these in his book, but it was Gone with the Wind that started it all for him. His mother would read it to him annually and she had memorized much of the dialogue. My son had his 30th birthday party in the _”Gone with the Wind,” museum in Marietta. Have you been there? We also visited the house she wrote the book in-Mitchell, but not the Oakland cemetery where she is laid to rest? Next time I get to Atlanta. He also talks about Caldwollon estate-owned by original purveryors of Coca-Cola-?

    • Mike, 1968 was indeed tumultuous, with Dr. King and Robert Kennedy both assassinated, the ongoing struggle (at home and abroad) over the Vietnam war, and too many seismic changes to mention. The Association’s songs “Cherish” and “Never My Love” and “Windy” are their best known, but I think some of their best work was less popular, such as “Requiem for the Masses.” You won’t believe this, but I have never read Gone with the Wind! I do intend to read it someday, but when I saw the movie as a young woman, I felt it that in some ways it was almost a caricature of the South, enacted in large part by those who were never really there. I think Mitchell’s book would be different and probably better. What turned me off most about the movie was that I felt it glamorized (or at least ignored) the whole slavery issue, with Mammy featured as the respected, if unofficial, CEO of Tara. I somehow doubt it was that way anywhere, but maybe I’m wrong about that. I just can’t imagine respecting and loving a person while holding a deed that says they are your property. Seems mutually exclusive. Still, I do remember being impressed with many things about the movie, such as that unforgettable scene with all the wounded soldiers. I definitely want to read Conroy’s book. I have been to Callanwolde but that was many years ago and I really should go back, also to the other place you mention.

  4. Sheila

    Julia, I am so happy to see your Daddy visiting here again. Bill and I are enjoying a pause from our busy day and talking about several topics. One is a question we would love to direct to Mr. Carlyle if you don’t mind. We have a nose cone from a Piedmont Airlines DC-3 that Bill converted into a wind chime years ago. My uncle in Winston Salem was a mechanic for the airlines in the 50’s and 60’s. Sir, would it interest you to see a photo of our most unique wind chime? Just sharing with you our ” off the clock” time! Bill is having fun researching this. Thank you for your blog, Julia. Sheila

    • Hi Sheila, I will email Daddy to make sure he sees your question, but I know he would love to see a photo of the the wind chimes, and I would too. I don’t know how often Daddy is getting on the computer lately, but hopefully he’ll soon be feeling back to normal (he still feels pretty worn out). Thanks for thinking of us!

      • Sheila

        Julia, I remember the blog ” The Power To Speak” in April, and Eric joined in with you and me for a very lively exchange. Your Daddy found it very entertaining. I guess lighthearted means so much in these days we are sharing! We will take a photo of the wind chimes and share. With the howling winds recently, it has sounded almost as loud as a buoy! Hope Jeff and Matt are doing well. Sheila

        • Sheila, laughter really is the best medicine! I enjoyed the laughter in April as much as anyone, and for me it came at a very good time. Of course, lately, anytime is a good time for a bit of lighthearted fun. We need all we can get! Thanks so much for being with us through this. We’ve all had a pretty good day today.

  5. great post and fun song!

    you will most likely find a ‘pingback’ that will lead you to this post regarding the leibster award. thanks for your daily posts that remind us to squeeze the best from each day.


    • Thank you Z! Reading your post about how slow your internet connection is, I felt doubly honored to have you visit my site. I got a kick out of your words about the timing. When I was first setting up this blog, I chose 3:00 a.m. EST because I didn’t want it to post on a different day on the west coast, but also wanted the blog to be available during waking hours for anyone on the other side of the world who happened to wander over. Since I set it all up on a timer, it works well unless I let a dreaded typo slip past me, as I did recently. However, the “timer” function in WordPress is the only way I can post daily; life is so unpredictable that I can’t possible be sure of having time to sit down every day and post. Thanks so much for being here, and for your kind words about the blog! I will enjoy exploring the other blogs you mention.

      • i admire your discipline of writing the posts – enough posts – to keep them in queue. i always love being somewhere and thinking, ‘well that post just fired off…’ this past week i was with a tour group, and i told them that a post should be published ‘about right now’ regarding the floor they would be seeing later that day.

        • Yes, I enjoy being able to tell people what’s coming up, if it’s relevant to something that’s happening now. And sometimes I’ll go in and alter the schedule, such as when the cherry blossom season kept being delayed and delayed some more.

  6. My mother took off her watch at least 10 years ago. As I age I am starting to understand why.

    • Cheers to her for taking charge of how she spends her time! I am beginning to realize that so much of what I think of as “unavoidable stress” is largely self-imposed when I get reactive and allow my mood and thinking to be affected by things outside my control. My husband has been such a great example as he battles stage IV cancer; he places strict limits on how often we are allowed to think and talk about it, and outside of medical appointments and decision making, he goes back and lives his life as normal. It’s made a tremendous difference in allowing us to enjoy the time we have NOW. Thanks for being here!


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