We are defined by time. How we manage time, how we work, how we play, how we divide our attention.
We have all at one stage wished that a day could have one more hour, that a holiday could be one more day, that a deadline was more of a guideline than a penalty.
The circadian rhythm explains the endogenous natural inclination to follow a periodic cycle. This rhythm is adjusted by external cues, the primary one being sunlight. We are inclined to rest as the sun sets and inclined to wake as the sun rises.
This hints that humans were built to follow a rhythm and routine and we are happiest when everything in our periodic cycles is in balance. We long for equilibrium.
Noticeably though, balance evades even the best time managers today. We rush from one event to the next and fill our days with reading tips on how to be more productive. We have convinced ourselves that there is always space for more, but is there really time?
We have conditioned our bodies to ignore the natural cues of rest periods and with artificial energy we have evolved into a generation that is more compelled to stay awake than to rest. We go out; we work or lay awake contemplating the day of tomorrow. We interact constantly, be it on the phone, cell phone, emails, SMS, texts, instant messaging and social networking. We are so over stimulated that we don’t recognise the cues, we don’t adhere to the nagging fatigue. Instead of taking time out, we take more Ginsengs.
Perhaps we will feel more fulfilled when we have the energy to enjoy the fruits of our labour, when we can think clearly about situations and actually see the sun rising without despising it. Perhaps life would not be such a struggle, if we learn that we are allowed to simplify it. Rest in itself is an activity. We are so scared of not living life to the full, that we now live life to the breaking point. Just because the human body and mind is capable of coping with the extremes, does not necessarily mean that we must constantly walk on the edge.
Perhaps we should adhere to one politician’s words as John Lubbock said:
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time”.