Linda Sivertsen presents the concept of Time Debt – something we caregivers experience, but likely didn’t have a name for, until now.
When we were younger, time went by slowly; especially, when we’re in school. As we grew older, we likely had the same lament as our parents: The seasons pass too quickly.
Sometimes, our loved ones are not given enough seasons to notice. Sivertsen says her parents died too soon – before they could realize their dreams. On her website she writes:
It’s taken me YEARS to stop losing time to people, habits, and things that drained me. But it didn’t have to be so hard, so bloody confusing.
For most of us, after we reach our fifties, we begin to appreciate the currency of time. Unlike money, where we can use credit, there are no credit cards to borrow time. Each of us is given a limited amount. How we spend our time – our minutes, hours, and days is up to us.
Some of us work, Work, WORK. I’m guilty of too many 14-hour days (give or take a couple). For the past 11 years, I’ve been saying this has to stop. It hasn’t. While my 16-hour workdays are few and far between, I’ve worked at this relentless pace for my entire professional career spanning 37 years.
Family caregivers may feel the same way – caregiving 24/7. Some days (even weeks) are like this. There’s no end and yet, what a surprise when we survive. But we can’t do this for long. The future looks grim for caregiver survival over age 65. Too many die before those for whom they care.
Why watch Sivertsen’s TED talk?
You might be over-investing your time, caring for others, while not investing in enough self-care. When we spend our time reacting to other people’s emergencies, we have much less time to prepare for and prevent our own.
Highlights from Time Debt
- Thinking you’re a machine.
You think you can do whatever it takes.
Of course, we caregivers think we can do it all!
- Forgetting that “Shit Happens.”
- Denying the laws of physics
Packing in too much in too little time.
- Time Shock
Uh ohhh, where did the time go?
Sivertsen reports doing two things to get out of Time Debt. The first is to be expected – we must track our time. The second is a more surprising and compelling reason to set aside time to watch her presentation. If you don’t have time, watch her second tip at about the nine-minute mark.
Consider Linda Sivertsen’s 13-minute Time Debt at TEDTalk as an investment in how you will spend your time going forward. Be inspired to make small changes. Like the higher interest rates of yesteryear, you may be able to capture a compounded return on your investment of time.