I have always loved watches and clocks. There is something about them that drew me to them (maybe they are my siren… but I digress). I have loved finding unique watches (one of my favorites is an old, well-loved art deco watch that, after a good cleaning and repair runs awesomely). Before the pandemic I found a cool mantle clock. It was on ebay for $20 or something, but it didn’t work. I took it in to be fixed and after a painful repair bill, it has been sitting on my bookshelf ticking happily away.
During the day, I rarely hear the clock, but when I stop and pay attention, I hear it: tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick-tick. In the words of Andrew Marvell, “But at my back I always hear/ Time’s winged chariot hurrying near”. When my to-do list is overwhelming, or I watch my inbox grow exponentially it seems the clock is chastising me “so much to do, so much to do”. I fear this has been most of us during this new now. There is always something to do, always something more we feel we should be doing.
I have learned to stop, take a few breaths, and the ticking is no longer spurring me on, adding to an underlying anxiety of clearing out emails or crossing off to do list items, but instead, I have learned to hear it as my personal little cheerleader. Its metronome-like consistency reminds me that by focusing on my work on taking it one item at a time, I generally get through most of what I need to do. It spurs me forward!
I have realized that I am in a lot of ways like that clock. To work well, I need to be taken care of (a good cleaning every so often – I mean I just bathed at Christmas!), a little tension is good (you have to wind the clock for it to work), but I can’t be too tightly wound: just like the clock that needs to let the springs unwind and let it function as it was designed, I too need those diversions to help me relax so I can work when I need to.
I hope that as we continue to work through these new norms and try to do more in the short, precious hours allotted to us, that we realize that we aren’t alone, we have a wonderful community here and in public procurement in general. I appreciate what you do for our chapter and for the awesome citizens of our state. Keep plugging along!
Zachary Christensen, J.D., CPPB
President – NIGP Utah Chapter