After a recent meeting, I was thanked for TAKING the time to participate. This was not the first time I have heard someone use that phrase to express such gratitude, though each time I hear it, I leave the conversation a bit confused. The verb TAKE is defined as “To get into one’s possession by force, skill, or artifice.” I would argue that my presence and contribution was a result of a purposeful decision made by me. To me, time is something we are given, something we share, and something we try hard to create. It is not something we TAKE. Rather, time is finite and something we choose to allocate among our personal priorities and in accordance with our personal philosophy.
When it comes to discussing time, I refrain from any use of the word TAKE. Instead, I migrated long ago to the verb MAKE, which is often defined as “To create, construct or produce.” A subtle change, and pure semantics to many, but we must admit that when we spend time with a person or on a task we are not TAKING time from someone or something else more deserving of our time and attention. If we are, we made a bad choice. Through time management and personal decisions, we MAKE time for that which is most important to us given proper consideration of the variables at play. We MAKE the time to help our children with their homework, we MAKE the time to complete a task at work, and we MAKE the time to share with loved ones. If we are not MAKING the time to do these things, we are allowing others to TAKE time away from us.
With that, thank you for MAKING the time to read this post, and congratulations to those of you who MAKE the time to do the things most important to you. Life is too short to spend doing things we’d rather not do in favor of the things we ought to be choosing to do. Remember, our place of employment is a choice, the length of our commute is a choice, our personal qualifications are a choice, our relationships with others are a choice. In short, our life is a result of our decisions and a result of what it is for which we MAKE time.
- Who is TAKING your time?
- What are you MAKING time for?
- Are you taking ownership of how you are choosing to spend your most precious asset?