A Test of Trouble
“Do not lessen the time of following desire, for the wasting of time is an abomination to the spirit.” — Ptahhotep, 2350 B.C.
I suppose it’s the new year that has got time on my brain these past couple of weeks. Give it time.
So, just to round this out, for our Ampersand Guild members — that is, paying subscribers — I’ve got some related links of interest all about the concept of time. Articles, essays, and other content that’s truly timeless and timely.
We’re often told that after a traumatic experience, we’ll get over something because time is the great healer. Emily Dickinson wasn’t of the belief that time heals all wounds. On the contrary, she wrote in an untitled poem in 1963:
They say that “time assuages”—
Time never did assuage—
An actual suffering strengthens
As sinews do, with age.
Time is a test of trouble—
But not a remedy—
If such it prove, it prove too
There was no malady—
Her conclusion is clear: Time itself doesn’t do the work; we do.
We still (mostly) have work schedules that are bound by generally accepted hours of business. Times when we are expected to be working. Changes are afoot, though.
The four-day workweek is beginning to break through. Pandemic work schedules demonstrated (to anyone who was paying attention) that we could measure teams by work generated rather than by hours worked.
Time doesn’t do the work; we do.
And much of our work is asynchronous. Emails and even Slack messages are sent with the expectation of a delay in response, however slight.
If we want synchronicity, we have meetings and phone calls.
But how much work really gets done in meetings, anyway?
Emily Dickinson was right: time is a test of trouble.