No one revels in the art of taking smart shortcuts more than yours truly. You know the one that leads from point A to D with expedience and without sacrificing quality. It’s a thrilling thing! And when you master it, there is no turning back. The sheer delight in increased efficiency, timely turnarounds and NOT wasting time is, “in short” — phenomenal!
The convenience industry which characterizes much of society today includes a fulsome range of neat businesses and “hard-to-live-without” services running the gamut. From healthy daily meal preparation with delivery to your door, to grocery shopping online and the endless variety of cleaning services, personal trainers, landscaping artists — the list goes on and on.
Then there are the veritably endless apps that can conveniently keep you honest with food intake and weight loss, sleep trackers and the enabling gifts of all kinds to magically appear at the front door of family and friends marking a special occasion — and within swipe or click or tap range, or flashing from a wearable device. It’s truly head-spinning material.
Which brings me to a newly discovered convenience, one that may very revolutionize an entire industry: buying a car — from loan to purchase — entirely ONLINE. Honestly, I found the concept truly amazing. Making one of the largest purchases one has to make in their life, using the click, tap, swipe method. Whoa!
It all got me thinking, as I watched my 16-year-old son climb into the gleaming taupe-coloured Driver’s Education car, with the instructor in the passenger seat, poised to begin the lesson.
The convenience industry has definitely enabled efficiency to a large extent which means in theory we should be able to spend more time doing more of what we love and hopefully less time, doing the opposite. That should presumably give us more time to chase those creative pursuits, do more of what brings up happiness, free up time to spend on what matters — family, friends, fitness, faith, to-do lists before they become bucket lists on a time limit, etc.
For parents, being able to tap into some of what makes up the convenience industry — hopefully the free or less-costly things — should mean freeing up time to spend that ever-elusive “quality” time with our children, spouses and partners.
But does it? Or do we somehow resist the benefits of the convenience industry and fill up that newly gained time with more stuff — that “stuff” that renders us all busy, ALL.THE. TIME. The B word that forms the common refrain to questions like: How’ve you been? How is life treating you? What have you been up to?
Time management is an ongoing odyssey for many of us, but for parents, it must be mastered quickly and on an ongoing basis as a matter of pure survival. Working parents understand this best. No time to waste. The clock is ticking. Drop-offs, pick-ups, schedules, nap time, calendars, activities, snack, meal and potty time, and of course timeouts. The clock whirrs.
While we cannot stop the clock, despite many valiant efforts to attempt such a feat, we could try to outsmart it. Perhaps stealing time — precious moments, priceless seconds, an hour here and there — truly leveraging the age of convenience that we live in to our own advantage, could offer the best of both worlds: A greater appreciation of living in the now.
I can frequently be heard saying to my children when they respond, “I’ll do it later.” Whatever IT is. Depending on the importance of the IT, a.k.a. the ask, I’ll reply, “Why not do it now, later may not come.”
And then there’s the priceless magnet on my father-in-law’s fridge reads which provides further food for thought and summarizes this concept so well: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”