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Monday Mom Challenge: Take your watch off

Jen Klein is a New England-based technical writer and mother of three. When she isn't asking her kids to stop bickering, "caramelizing" the dinner or actively ignoring the dust bunnies under the couch, she enjoys knitting, gardening, pho...

Stop obsessing about time

Have you become a slave to your watch? That lovely timepiece on your arm is half frivolous and half utilitarian. Yes, it's pretty, and yes, it goes so well with so many of your clothes, but is it working for you or are you working for it? Have you become obsessed with time? Do you check your watch so frequently that it interferes with your interactions? Maybe it's time take your watch off completely for a while.

Stop obsessing about time

Earlier this summer, I took my watch off. I told my friends that I didn't want a watch tan line, but it was more than that. I found myself looking at the watch too often, and was getting extremely stressed about time - and even when I really had plenty of it. During conversations, meetings, playtime, I found myself surreptitiously checking my watch for the current time - and often missing important moments.

Time us all around us

I started wearing a watch long before cell phones (with the time displayed), computers (with the time displayed), even clocks in cars. There was a time when there wasn't a constant reminder of time everywhere one looked. Watches were very necessary (all those years ago - ha!) because there weren't reminders all around us - but I also think we weren't slaves to the exact time like we as a society are now. Even how we give time has changed! Out are the general "half past six" reports of time and in are the "six twenty-eight" reports - we now spent more time fretting about the moment than being in the moment.

Still aware of time

By taking my watch off during the (slightly) slower summer months, I have been able to relax a little more, focus more in the moment. But that doesn't mean I am not aware of the time or am chronically late now - there are plenty of sources to check the time - but it does mean that when I am having a conversation, I am listening better and when I am hanging out and playing with the kids, I am really with them. Not wearing a watch seems to have freed me from the constraints of time while I still am very much aware of time and its passage.

Resource or distraction

My husband took off his watch several years ago for similar reasons. I didn't understand it until this summer when I took off my own watch. A watch can be a resource (or accessory) or a distraction. When it became a distraction for me, taking it off made me appreciate time more while worrying about it less. It may seem incongruous, but it seems to work.

I am not sure this watchless life will really work during the school year, with more and disparate demands on my time. I hope, though, that the lessons of this watchless time will help me take some deeper breaths, focus more on the moment and stop wasting time by obsessing about time. 

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