As designers we often think about scale; the scale of an object, the scale of a space, the scale of a building or the scale of a city and its component parts. That’s what designers do. Scale, to a designer, can also be compared to the anatomy of an object, space, building or city; its structure and the component parts inherent to its make up. Not often as a designer or anyone else for that matter, do we think about the scale or the anatomy of a year. What we talking about here is time and its component parts.
When do you really think about it?
Pink Floyd made time famous and recently when I listened to the song the familiar jangle of the seemingly infinite number of clocks in the intro I consciously thought about time and how ubiquitous it really is. Yeah, I know, you can argue that we all regularly say “I don’t have time for that.” or “You didn’t give enough time to complete that task.” or “We are running out of time to get to the next thing, meeting or practice or whatever.”
Yup, these statements relate to time but they are simply a reaction to some external pressure that is placed on us.
The funny thing is that time seems to elude us regularly as we move through it. We don’t consciously think about it, do we? The year, as is the city, is made up of a series of moments or component parts, each affecting the other and building upon the other to support the whole; just like a city is to its buildings, as buildings are to their spaces and as spaces are to their objects.
The year, broken down into months, days, hours and seconds give us an opportunity to recognize our abilities and how we actually structure our lives around each of the component parts. It affords us the opportunity to scale our achievements, goals, needs and aspirations within each of its discernible segments just as we would approach the design of an object within a space or a building within a city.
Here’s one way to look at it.
A year is 31,536,000 seconds:
Make every second count. They go by so fast it’s easy to miss them. Before long they pile up on you, some unused, some wasted, some golden. The funny thing about a second is that it takes just that to change the course of your life. Use them as wisely as you can. Some seconds are free and easy and some are not so. The one’s that are the hardest are likely the most beneficial. Try some push-ups and you will see what I mean.
A year is 525,600 minutes:
Each minute you wait to do something, learn something, be somewhere, talk to someone is another minute you have lost to your personal progress. Ask yourself what your purpose is. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Pack as many minutes with that purpose as you can. I take a few of those minutes each day to remind myself of my good fortune no matter how I feel. We are all human which means we all have faults that’s why we need to take some of those precious minutes to celebrate our victories. The Beatles crafted the longest recorded note in music history. A Day in the Life (Jeff Beck does it so much better) shows us that minutes can be truly victorious moments.
A year is 8,760 hours:
An hour exercising is one that benefits you most in the hours you actually have to yourself. It centers you, it relieves stress and it relaxes your chi or at least it chills you out. Many of your hours are not yours; working, traveling and sleeping steal the lion share. The ones that remain compete voraciously for your attention. I was at a spa recently and my massage therapist suggested I stretch whenever I can, wherever I can. We spend so much time waiting, working or traveling where we are effectively still and he suggested I use it to my advantage. He said you might look funny so remember to smile so anyone looking at you will smile too. “That way” he said, “You will both be happy but YOU will be more flexible.” Stretch yourself and stretch your mind.
A year is 365 days:
Each day brings you so much opportunity to learn and grow. Try to use your days to your advantage and not to someone else’s benefit. Even if you work for a corporation you still work FOR yourself; for your benefit. That’s the attitude. There are days when you are wondering why you do what you do and there are days that you are a rock star! Remember those rock star days and how you felt that day. Rinse and repeat as often as you can. Treat each day with the respect it deserves. Make as much progress toward your purpose as you can with the time you give yourself. Respect your life, your body and your soul and the day will take care of itself.
A year is 12 months:
Months are units in time where we fit the routine of our lives. They are our measurement tool for our progress. They are our way to set short term goals. We generally think in quarters most times because business forces us to align ourselves in this manner. The month is our social barometer, our economic indicator and our unit of measuring our productivity. It’s where we get lost in our worlds. It’s where we realize our productivity. How was your last personal quarter?
And finally we have the cumulative year; in all its glory.
A year goes by in an instant.
The year is where we celebrate our past achievements and plan for our future. The year is our yardstick for achievement, our validation for our experience or our validation for our prowess. It’s the container that holds the days, hours, minutes and seconds and binds each together to a cumulative finality.
Cherish the moments. Cherish the opportunities. Cherish what you learn. Cherish the connections you make. They have passed and are part of you now.
Improve what you can. Change what you must. Get the help you need. You have the same thing as everyone around you.
Gandhi was famous for saying, “We all have the same 24 hours in the day. It’s how you choose to fill them that makes us unique“.