Lightbulb Moment: Why Are You Always Watching the Clock?

September 20th, 2013 by Laura Longley

Lightbulb  Moment

The Laura Longley Show

September 10, 2013


You can listen to the entire show here:

From the show transcript:

I wanted to also share with you something that’s been going on for me that I’m working on. It will be the focus of our Light Bulb Moment later in the show. What’s come up for me in the last week or two has been letting go of watching the clock. I realized-I’ve known for a while that I do this but I haven’t been very focused on it. I was out a couple of weeks ago dancing with a friend of mine. Every once in a while I would think, “I wonder what time it is?” I don’t wear a watch and my cell phone was in her car. At some point I went-why do I need to know what time it is? I’m not Cinderella. I’m not going to turn into a pumpkin at midnight. I don’t have to get up in the morning, so it’s not like I have to be home at a certain time, yet it raised a certain anxiety for me not knowing what time it is. That to me was a key that that was something I wanted to work on is this having to know what time it is all the time.

I want to talk a little bit more about watching the clock or learning to not watch the clock as our Light Bulb Moment for today. As I mentioned at the beginning of the show, this really came to the forefront for me how much I’m doing this and how much it affects me a couple of weeks ago. Then I really started to pay attention to how much I do it. I realize it creates anxiety for me. Betsy and I talked about this a little bit earlier in the show as well that when I don’t know what time it is, I feel like I should be doing something I’m not doing, it creates anxiety.

It also creates a false sense of urgency because very few things need to be done in a certain time or at a certain time. We might have appointments, but other than that, it’s all preference, personal preference. I keep a running list in my head of everything I need to do and when I’ll do it. That creates more of the urgency and the sense of needing to hurry up and it keeps me focused in the future and not being focused on the present.

As Betsy and I said, everything happens in the present. Nothing happens in the future or in the past. It all happens right now, in the present. It’s really interesting to me too because I have a really good sense of time. For instance, if I’ve been doing something for several hours where there’s not a clock nearby and I come back home or get in the car or wherever there is a clock, and I think I know about what time it is, I’m always within 5 or 10 minutes. There’s something about time for me in particular.

The bottom line here is always worrying about what time it is creates anxiety and it keeps me from being able to experience what’s actually happening right now, in the present.

I want to also link this to what we talked about last week in the Light Bulb Moment with the having orientation versus the being orientation. Letting go of watching the clock helps us be in the being orientation. The having orientation is all about accomplishing. That is about watching the clock.

To give you a little bit of help with making the shift from watching the clock, let me give you a few steps that you can do. First of all, really realize that there are things that are time related. We do have appointments, this radio show is one of them. It would not work well for anybody if I showed up at 3:00 in the afternoon Pacific time instead of 1:00 in the afternoon Pacific time to do the radio show. There are certain things where it is important to know what time it is. However, that is not the majority of things. Most things in our lives are flexible and do not need to be done at a certain time.

If you want to start letting go of your attachment to the clock, start by noticing. You don’t have to do anything different yet. Notice how frequently you check to see what time it is. Notice how often you’re planning out what you’re going to do next or your entire schedule for the day. Notice how you’re thinking about what you’re going to do later rather than what you’re doing right now. This is a big one for me, notice when you’re feeling anxiety about everything that you “need to get done today.”

Then start doing it differently. Start by noticing. You will be amazed at how much you do this. Then when you really have gotten this is an issue for me, I do this a lot, then what you’re going to start doing differently is whenever you look around for a clock or start to look at your watch or pull out your cell phone to see what time it is, stop and ask yourself why you need to know what time it is. That’s what I’ve been doing with myself. Why do I need to know what time it is? That information is irrelevant for whatever it is that I’m doing at the time. If you need to know, then look. Most of the time you will find that you do not need to know what time it is.

When you realize you’re thinking about what’s next, come back to focusing on what’s now. Whenever you find yourself out there in the future and thinking about, “I still need to do this. Once I get done with that I’ll go do this other thing,” and come back to what am I doing right now in this moment.

When you feel anxious not knowing what time it is, ask yourself how many of the things that are on your list actually have to be done today. You will find the answer is very few. Ask yourself why is time so important. Why is what’s happening in the future more important than where I am at right now. If what’s in the future really is more important, why are you even doing what you’re doing right now if you’re not going to experience it?

Finally, practice. That’s what it’s all about. Practicing. It does not come easily. This is something that’s really rampant in our society. We live by the clock. You’re going to have to practice a lot in order to be able to do it differently. As I was saying with Betsy about my thing with practicing patience, you will be given lots of opportunities to practice as well.

 I would love to hear about your experiences. Does watching the clock make you anxious or give you security? Are you happy with how you’re handling that part of your life, or do you want to make a change?

Please comment!

2 Responses

  1. Melanie says:

    Interesting topic! I was thinking the other day how silly it is that I can’t leave home without my wrist watch. Even if I’m just going somewhere quickly or to visit someone and don’t really have any time constraints. But I’m always thinking, put your watch on, you might need to know what time it is! I watch the clock all day in a work environment, no need to do so in the evening but it is a constant habit, with a clock in almost every room, funny but I never really thought about what a constant habit it is.

    • Laura Longley Laura Longley says:

      It certainly gives you something to think about, Melanie. If it doesn’t cause you stress or anxiety, then no need to make a change. But if you find that checking the clock is creating angst for you, it would be something to look at changing. I’m definitely making progress in that arena!

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