Time in Captivity

Ron Noden, Executive Vice President, EleVia Software April 29, 2020

Oh my, even the mundane is changed in these times! There are significant differences in the little things like hair care, restaurant food, and constant lockdown with my family. I don’t know how others are accomplishing hair care, but after two ‘successful’ attempts at cutting my own hair, I realize I tend to only trim the parts I can see upfront. I appear to be only a few weeks away from a full-on mullet. That clock is ticking…

As the weeks roll along in the new abnormal, some things are radically different, and some things remain impenetrably the same. Keeping our focus on what matters most seems to vary from day to day. Some days the trivial try to rule our captivity, other days we are crystal-clear on what is most important. It makes me consider ‘time’ or ‘time management’.

How we spend our time is what intrigues me most. With the additional time in captivity, there is a concentration of time available to each of us that doesn’t always exist in more ‘normal’ times.  Life is different thanks to the pandemic – meetings are being conducted from a home office, travel has been restricted or stopped, and a collection of additional ‘Stay at Home’ edicts.

How we invest our time, and I do mean invest, matters. Time is a finite resource, the one thing we are all given the same amount of – each day of 24 hours, 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds. That is the same time that Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, Madame Curie, and Mother Teresa had every day. If four of those hours are spent playing Words with Friends or Mortal Kombat or some other mindless excursion, it may be a little harder to find the satisfaction that the time was well invested.

People often talk about ‘time management’ as if it is something magical we can organizationally accomplish. We don’t manage time; we manage what we do in the time we have. There are two Greek words for time, Chronos and Kairos. The comparison of the two is intriguing.

Chronos refers to the clock, as in using a chronograph in reference to being on time for appointments. For example, arriving for a 1-hour appointment and leaving one hour later because you have somewhere else you are scheduled to be. Or working from exactly 8 AM to exactly 5 PM would be described as living in Chronos. Chronos is valuable because it is structured and minimizes time wasted – your time and the time of those you interact with.

Kairos is more about making the most of time and opportune timing. Kairos can be a beautiful thing during captivity (and other times too). What happens when you are in ‘Kairos mode?’ In Kairos mode you don’t focus on time, instead, you focus on what matters most and how to best use your time. You may find something deep and intellectually satisfying therefore get into a performance zone where you dig in and execute on a game plan. You might actually lose track of time and not care as you create something incredible and fun! I’m writing this blog in Kairos. Earlier today, I worked on a new product idea in Kairos. Big fun, expansive brain time, that allows each of us unfettered chunks of productive time to be at our maximum output potential. In Kairos, there’s no worrying about attending a 2 PM meeting or some other Chronos distraction. A little Kairos can help you accomplish way more than you ever imagined.

We need Chronos for order, for discipline, for many things. We sure need Chronos for things like getting invoices out and to receive payment. If we have the best software solution to accomplish those timely necessities, we can lever our Chronos to create room for Kairos (Saving Time). Chronos is a measure of time, but Kairos is the quality of the time. While you are ‘enjoying’ captivity, block off some Chronos time on your calendar so you can get fully absorbed in the beauty of Kairos and the productivity that comes with it. There is a time for watching the clock and a time for unlocking our full potential. Good luck unlocking your full potential in Kairos.

That’s how I want to invest as much of my time as possible while in captivity.

Stay safe, enjoy life, slip into a little Kairos my friends.