While my formal major was communication studies, when I reflect back on my college career, I think most of my time was spent studying how many activities, sports, and classes I could cram into one week before the overwhelm shut me down.
I was a master at filling every second of the day and as a result, often found myself running between meetings and events on a tight schedule.
One day in my final semester at university, I found myself flying across the quad, certain I was going to be late for a meeting. That’s when I bumped into a friend who also had this meeting on their calendar. He very calmly strolled across campus like he had all the time in the world.
“We’re going to be late; c’mon!” I’m sure I was some version of frantic as I questioned his relaxed saunter.
Slowly, he looked at his watch, met my eye, and said, “Liz. Do you have any idea how long four minutes is?”
Everything leading up to that moment came to a crashing halt as I realized the ridiculousness of my panic. We were perhaps 30 seconds from the building and we had four...whole...minutes.
That very simple interaction happened five years ago. And its lesson has stuck with me to this day.
On a weekly basis, I ask myself if I know how long X minutes is. It is a regular occurrence that—when I’ve lost sight of my priorities or time management or sense of peace—I take a deep breath, look at the clock, and ask myself how long four minutes is.
And it makes me smile. And it brings me clarity. And it reminds me that I have this incredible blessing of 1,440 minutes every single day. And man can you do some amazing things in that time.
We overthink a lot of things. I’ve had this feeling of falling behind on different Smile Project tasks lately and that is frustrating to me. But if I really think about it, a lot can be accomplished in four minutes. I set a four-minute timer when I sat down to write this blog post. It just went off.