Email. Dishes. Soccer Games. Laundry. Grief. New friends. Tailgates. Voicemail. Conflict. Homework. Lawncare. Parent-teach conferences. Old friends. Twitter. Bills. Deadlines. Instagram. Dinner. Meetings. Cardio. Online course. Paperwork. Doctor’s Appointment. Performance Review. More Meetings. Science Project. Business Presentation.
Our lives often resemble tsunamis, thrashing madly about and threatening to take us under at any moment. I have zero citations for this, but I am fairly confident that the #1 response to “how have you been?” is the word “busy!”. Our world doesn’t take breaks or offer reprieves. We have to draw our own lines in the sand and stake our claim on rest, nourishment, mindfulness and all of the aspects of our lives which lack that screaming immediacy present in so many of our moments.
This is exactly why I believe musicians should teach classes on time and priority management for the rest of us. After they call the group to order, they would simply need to place one crucial instrument in front of the class and set it in motion. As we watch the rhythmic tick-tack of their metronome, we would each begin to wonder what it is in our lives which helps us keep time. Are there fixed and predictable tools which push back on the tsunami of the modern American life and provide a more livable cadence?
Want to quickly determine if your life contains a metronome, or is lacking that tick-tack motion? Simply ask a few friends what actions/decisions they observe you routinely injecting into your schedule. What are the habits which define your cadence?
- Do you always check your email at 11 am and 4 pm and then never check it outside of those times?
- Would they say you always get 8 hours of sleep a night?
- Do you choose to never have more than 3 roles in your life? (parent, loan officer & bowling league member; or spouse, volunteer & educator)
- Always take time off each quarter?
- Never bring your mobile device to the dinner table?
- Always send an agenda before the meeting?
- Never meet for more than 30 minutes at a time?
We will never have control over the myriad amount of opportunities we have in which to invest ourselves. And it isn’t as easy as choosing between feeding the homeless or opening a meth lab. Our choices are between many good options, all of which we could justify to ourselves and others. But we need something to help us keep time and remain in a rhythm which is life-giving for us and those in our path. When our metronomes are set in motion, our lives tend to make even more beautiful music.