What I Wish I Knew in College: Creating Time 4 of 4
Power of an Hour
You may have thought a lot about time. Especially if you consider it to be a great enemy, you have spent an inordinate amount of time complaining about it and its whimsical sabotage of your life. Yet, have you ever stopped to think deeply about the power that a single hour holds? To learn this lesson, you must practice presence, purpose, and scaffolding.
Presence is about being present in the moment. It is summoning the ability to be intentional with a moment and connecting it to other moments. It is your intentional use of the time toward the creation of some coherent whole. It is like a story. It has a beginning, middle, and an end that you are responsible for. Consider that if you can focus your energy for some duration of time on a singularly scaffolded purpose, in time, you could do almost anything.
For example, you are no doubt familiar with sitting down to watch a movie. You choose the movie and sit to engage with it for as long as the filmmakers prepared. You have a sense of what is expected of a successful movie viewing. You are expected to watch and keep up with the plot. Afterward, people can ask you about the movie, and you will respond with what you took from the experience.
Presence is the same idea. Presence is like the plot of the movie. It ties the moments together into a single story. You pay attention, not just out of enjoyment, but guided by an understanding of the process.
Purpose is the focus of your intention. Purpose is bigger than an event or an activity. Not your life’s purpose or some metaphysical undertaking, I speak of the correlate to intentionality, that combination of meaning and activity that benefits from scaffolding. Like interlocking blocks connected toward some structure, purpose is at once the vision of a planned structure and the connecting technology of the bricks.
An example can be drawn from carpentry, specifically driving a nail into a board. Presence is required in that the intention of hammering is a critical element. But, you also need a blueprint of what you are building and agreement that nails are the best tools for the job. This is purpose. It is the conception and agreement in the context of intention that offers meaning to your actions. Your actions are purposeful. This means they contribute to a larger purpose.
Scaffolding is literally the framework that enables the building of your envisioned structure. Time has an inherent scaffolding in seconds, minutes, and hours. They work together to define time in a certain way. You can manipulate the scaffolding of time to your purpose. Again, I present an hour here, but you can order 15-minute intervals, 30-minute intervals, or 1.5 hour intervals. The amount doesn’t matter. Scaffolding suggests your evaluation of your use of the time. It sets the parameters on your activity and reach.
For example, with 30 minutes, you would not be able to travel on a 2-hour flight to solve a problem. You would be constrained to the limits of that 30 minutes and the resources it provides. You would need to focus your energy on what it readily available to you. In this way, scaffolding can create your opportunity. Consider that if you give yourself more time, loosening the scaffolding while maintaining presence and purpose, you could achieve a great deal.