Reclaiming My Time!


“Reclaiming my time” is a phrase commonly heard in the House of Representatives to get the floor back when another member is speaking. Maxine Waters made it famous when she cut off Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen as he tried to bullshit his way through testimony before her committee until the allocated time for questioning ran out. He was wasting her valuable time and she wasn’t having it. Getting away from politics, maybe reclaiming our time is an effective way to improve our lives? Not allowing the precious gift of time to be wasted by people and things of little or no value.

Social media is a huge time waster. While it arguably connects people in many ways. The entire time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., replaces in-person interaction with real people. As an aspiring writer trying to market a book to literary agents, I’m required to “build a platform,” measured in Twitter and Instagram followers and Facebook friends. While I need to put in work on social media, I don’t owe it my life. I’ve found more productive things to do than see what’s trending.

Get some exercise. As someone who has pounded his feet flat over a lifetime of playing basketball. I can attest that there’s some kind of exercise everyone can do that will improve your health and is a far more valuable use of time than posting selfies.

Turn off the damn TV! I’m getting better at this. An avowed political junkie. When news breaks I might watch different takes on the same event on multiple consecutive shows. I’m still hooked on Rachel Maddow although I’ll walk away from a guest host in a minute while she’s taking some of her well-earned vacation days. I generally prefer to read my news anyway. It tends to be more factually oriented and logically presented although exceptions abound.

Speaking of reading, I have rediscovered a lost love. In grade school, I almost burned down the house by falling asleep with a lamp under the covers. Reading past my bedtime. If I once loved reading enough to risk my life. It’s certainly worth spending time doing now. Reclaiming my time.

Reclaiming your time is the end result of examining your priorities and making a change. Whether it be your career, relationships, or how you spend your free time. I challenge everyone to recognize those ways you waste your time and reclaim it. Substituting what you were doing with something better.

The Legacy My Grandmother Left Me Regarding Time


When I was a youth in Minneapolis, MN, my grandmother would pick my brothers and I up to go to Sunday School and Church at 9:00 every Sunday. She told us that she would be there at 9:00 and if we weren’t ready, she would leave us. I don’t know what would actually happen if we were late because during the dozen or so years it applied. We were never late.

Throughout life I have ranked timeliness somewhere between cleanliness and Godliness and have done my best to be on time everywhere for everything. I recognize that there are some events where it is “socially acceptable” to arrive late, that doesn’t prevent me from establishing my own determination of what is late and abiding by it. Only one thing keeps me from being on time for absolutely everything… other people.

It seems that the people who have played the biggest roles in my life have no appreciation for time. I still have hope for my own grandchildren who have not yet been corrupted by their parents who should know better. I have resigned myself that showing up on time for birthday parties, social affairs, pretty much everything, is a futile effort and spending time in my life I’ll never get back.

You’d think as time passed this would be less of a problem? Before my grandmother passed, our family organized an appreciation dinner at a hotel where her friends and family could acknowledge how important she’d been in their lives. I’d flown into town and was staying at her home, along with my mother and one of my brothers. That she was being honored was a surprise to her, she thought she was attending an event having to do with me. She suffered from diabetes and was mostly blind, yet she rushed us all to get ready and out the door so that we wouldn’t be late. If she’d gotten her way, we’d have all arrived at the hotel at noon for a 2 pm event. The future doesn’t bode well for me in terms of caring less about time.

I am who I am and accept it. The others in my life are who they are and I’m trying to grudgingly accept that as well. I still arrive at work 15-minutes early every day, on the rare day I’m only 5–10 minutes early… I’m late. I’m the only one that cares, except of course my grandmother who’s looking down smiling.