When I read The Autobiography of Malcolm X in my school days, one of the things that stood out was how the first thing he bought on release from prison was a watch. His life behind bars had made him keenly aware of the true value of time.
Many years later, I heard a CEO tell an audience that he never wore a watch because no matter where he went, it was “now” which meant he was always on, whatever the hands on the clock said.
It seems to me, these days, it’s the CEO’s viewpoint that the world has come to live in. Every buzz and bing and glance I take to see what is happening proves it. Push notifications from apps, emails from colleagues, meeting notices, and robo-requests from conference rooms where all guests have declined jostle for attention with calendar reminders and asks for resource help and gchat popups that simply have pics of people I work with eating dinner at extravagant steak houses. And they all compete with simple texts about being missed from my wife.
So when I get home and my kids are on iPads, I tell them turn it off. And I put my phone in a time lock container that won’t open until they are in bed. I want to give them all the “now” I have.
But I wear a watch because I know that “now” is not forever.