It’s 5:00 AM in Munich, Germany, and I can’t sleep due a mixture of excitement and regret

My excitement comes from progress with the Rip Red Tape initiative. I’m halfway into my two-week immersion with HR organizations and mentors in Germany, and am looking forward to sharing what I learn with the Rip Red Tape community in the weeks to follow.

My regret comes from knowing that life is short, yet that I’ve spent so much of life being wasteful and disrespectful of my own time. I think everyone is guilty of that. Time is the most precious aspect of our existence, yet we expend so much of it on things we despise: sitting at a cubicle, in a meeting, at a computer, or hovering over our phones.

As a western society, we are addicted to work. We equate inactivity to stagnation, thus boredom. This is an equation that we have learned, and that we can un-learn it as soon as we get honest with ourselves about work.

When we have a spare minute or spare hour at work, our initial tendency is to escape work while remaining “productive.” So we check personal E-mail, read text messages, or scroll social media. All of this is fine–I do it myself. But it’s a waste of time, and time shouldn’t be wasted. The irony is that, by doing these things, we think that we are making the most of our time: “I have to be at my desk anyway, so I might as well do something at my desk.”

That’s the wrong approach. As of this post’s writing, we’ve got 65 members of the community (a fact which makes me grateful beyond expression)! The next time we find ourselves with a spare moment at work or at home, let’s avoid wasting it with technology. Instead, let’s challenge each other to stand up, walk outside or to a window, and enjoy the moment for what it is: timeless freedom.

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