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Time – The most precious resource
by Scott Brothers
Over the holidays, I spent time celebrating my first wedding anniversary. For someone like me who didn’t get married until he was 35, a year seems like a long time and yet no time at all to be married. It was a moment in time to reflect on the past year and to look forward to more time together. This got me thinking about time.
I have a hate/hate relationship with time. In a list of the top 5 things that make me anxious, time would fill the list. I’m not going to be on time. I waste too much time. I hurry to get there in time. Now I don’t have enough time. Enough time in the day, enough time for work, enough time for family, enough time for sleep, enough time left on earth. You can see how much time I spend thinking about time.
It hasn’t always been this way. When I was young, I didn’t think about time that often, probably to the alarm of my parents and professors. Although respectful of others’ time, I wasn’t in a hurry to be tied down by the worries of time just yet.
My relationship with time changed on April 15th, 2005 when my father died from a work-related accident when he was 51. I had lost people in life, but this was different – it wasn’t his time. When a grandparent passes, it may be sad, but it was their time. That’s our normal human cycle. When my father left before his time, he wouldn’t be there for the time I walked across the stage with my college degree. He wouldn’t be there for the time I said, “I do.” He won’t be there for the time his grandchildren are born. There will be no more times.
Today, I constantly measure time in minutes, hours, days, and years, both forward and backward. For instance, if I had a child today and I die at the same age as my father, my child will lose his father at the age of 16. So in my head, time is running out. Now, I realize that American males have on average about 79 years to live, so I should have 43 more years left. If I am average, I will only make it to my 44th wedding anniversary. If I don’t smoke, do more yoga, bike to work and eat right, I should make it past that. But life doesn’t always give us averages. So you see my anxiety in relation to time.
I also realize that I’m not my father. He worked in the field in a high-risk environment in the oil & gas industry, while I work mostly in an office making software that helps companies prevent injuries and fatalities, saving their bottom lines by preventing down time, reducing employee turnover, and avoiding regulatory fines. My goal is that my clients have more time to spend with their families, and if they are injured, they spend less time off the job.
My father fell 66’ off a drilling platform. At a height of 66’ and at 32 feet/second/second, it took only 2 seconds for him to hit the ground. You may think that an accident that lasts only 2 seconds would be impossible to prevent. But the incident didn’t start 2 seconds before he hit the ground. The time leading up to this incident was months or even years, and there were numerous opportunities to prevent the incident that took a life.
Leading indicators of these types of incidents are seen in substandard conditions, at-risk behavior, inspection fails and resolutions. The lagging indicators are seen in near-miss data and prior high-risk incidents that did not lead to a fatality. I could go further into training, regulatory compliance, and organizational safety culture, but I don’t want to spend more of your time. You get the idea.
My request to you would be to take a little time to think about your time, how you spend it, and what you will miss when your time ends. It helps prioritize how you’ll spend the rest of the time you have left.
In closing, I thank you for your time, because I truly know how precious it is.
If you ever want to take the time to reach out, I would look forward to the opportunity. You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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