The author of the book I am reading this week pointed out that ancient Greeks described two types of time. The first type is called chronos. It is the kind of time that is measured by clocks. The other type of time, kairos is not measured in quantity. If we really had to measure it at all it would be a qualitative measure and it would require reflection and personal interpretation.
Author, Douglas Rushkoff of Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now, claims that as we have moved to the digital world, time has become all chronos.
While clocks may have suggested that we lived in a world bound by chronos, digitality asks us to embody chronos itself. Where the arms of a clock passed through the undefined, unmeasured spaces between numbers, digital technology registers only chronos.
Rushkoff explains that we have come to experience every moment as a decision point. These decision points show up in the form of emails, calendar alerts, tweets and posts. Decisions, that need to be made, gobble up our time.
Consider these questions:
- Do I tend to move from one task to the next?
- When I am doing one thing and a call, tweet, post or reminder comes into my awareness; do I have to decide which is more important?
In reality, we are in charge of the beeps and buzzes of modern day communications. Those sounds can be turned off simply by turning the data connection off for a set amount of time each day. Then we can write, have a reflective conversation or simply imagine new futures. The magic of the digital age will still be there when we turn the connections back on. The tweets, emails, and posts are there waiting for us, neatly stacked up and ready to be eliminated or processed.
Rushkoff has many more points to make in this book. I decided to focus on time as a specific concept addressed in Chapter 2. Time is relevant to the leadership process because as leaders we need to control how we spend our given 24 hours a day. If we only complete tasks we are not really leading, we are being led by others demands and priorities.
Every week during 2014 I look forward to sharing books that I am reading. The lens of the leadership process will be the filter for which I recommend books. Books are powerful vehicles for providing us with inspiration and new ideas.