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Although the expression, “Time is of the Essence,” was created to emphasize that, due to a contract deadline, a shortage of time existed for work completion, the expression seems to have gained force in everyday life.  Simply, time seems to be of the essence for everyone.  People are constantly multitasking, trying to finish several jobs at the same time.  Some people have two or three part-time jobs, running from one to the other.  Some people are juggling responsibilities between work and family.  And, some of us, artists are trying to do it all: work for a living, care for our families and create works of art.

In this crazy, busy world, time seems to be getting ever shorter because responsibilities increase, but the number of hours available in a day remains 24.  As the pressure builds with the amount of work to be completed, time seems to be of the essence for everybody at all time.

I feel that I am the perfect expression of this predicament.  I returned to school to finish my PhD and retained my full-time work, as well.  Doing the two at the same time is overwhelming.  I work, study and sleep.  This seems to be my world right now.

If I have a little bit of time, I spend it on creating my short stories, poems and next novel.  When I talk about this “little bit of time”, I am referring to the morning times on the weekends or break times at work.  For example, I really wanted to send a short story to a competition that had a tight deadline.  In fact, the deadline was so tight that I had to finish writing it in one evening.  Therefore, at break time at work, I isolated myself in a stall of the washroom and wrote the ending of the story while sitting on the floor.   When time is of the essence, one has to be resourceful!

When did society get to this point?  The Ancient Greeks perceived work as shameful.  All citizens prayed to the gods to be in a situation where they did not have to do physical labour that aimed at providing the necessities.  Unfortunately, the protestant work ethics glorified work as noble.  Yet, even the amount of work people did under this protestant ethics seemed to be under control until the late 20th century.  So, what happened?  Why and how did we lose our footing?  And, what can we do about it now?

I don’t have any answers to this puzzle.  All I know is that I am out-of-control busy.  I am doing so much that I might even end up writing short stories on the washroom floor when time is of the essence.

I wonder, though, if this lifestyle ever ends.  Or, if I run out of energy before it has a chance to get better.

M. J. Mandoki