E is for Employment

It’s the last day of the year 2021 and I’m taking time to tackle the last letter in the BALANCE exercise.

Day 7’s prompt, the final letter—employment—is a word I don’t relate to much either if its most common interpretation is used: a job, working for a boss for pay. I haven’t been employed by anyone (person or organization) for quite some years (and even when I did, I was the boss, or at least one of them, so I was seen as the employer).

But that doesn’t stop me from considering broader meanings of employment: What are the activities to which I devote my time? Or even more generally, to what do I give my attention?

This is, in fact, not a frivolous question when doing an exercise meant to assess where one sits in one’s lane at any given time… especially now, of course, on the eve of starting a new year!

It’s hard to deny that we live in an attention economy. In my business consulting I’ve regularly reminded clients who feel overwhelmed that attention is the new currency.

As social beings we pay attention, get attention, or seek attention …in all spheres… home, work, social media, entertainment, news, commerce, politics… Yet our time is finite. Each of us is given 24 hours a day. We can only give our attention to some things, not all. And when we choose to put our attention on certain things, it means we have less time for others.

I agree with this culture critic’s warning:

Attention is a limited resource, so pay attention to where you pay attention.

Howard Rheingold

It’s easy to let life sift through our open fingers. I feel I must eventually get back to being more judicious with the use of my time.

My previous posts in this BALANCE series give big clues to issues and activities where I typically employ my time and effort: particularly Learning, Net Worth, and Community.

Yet, in the space I am right now, with my priority firmly (and necessarily) focused on self-care and healing as I cope through my cancer prevention program, I am intentionally cutting myself some slack. Allowing my days to take shape organically as I am inspired, moment to moment.

Besides the obvious tasks related to my treatments—getting lab tests, going to the clinic for the infusions—I now employ myself only to what pulls me and interests me… like writing for this heroine’s journey online journal.

It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.

Lucius Annaeus Seneca (On the Shortness of Life)

Can you become more intentional about how you spend your time, more discerning about what you allow to distract you, more prudent about what you pay attention to and employ your efforts to?

PS. This is the last day of a crazy year, not just for me, but for so many around the globe. I’m not one for wishing time away, but I am frankly not unhappy to see this year go. Yet I hope you share with me at least a little confidence that the year ahead will be better for you, for me, for all of us. I also want to thank YOU for the time and attention you’ve granted ME in reading my online journal. I feel buoyed and encouraged with each thought shared with me. See you in the New Year! 🥂🥳


  • Francisca, as you know, my own employ of time doesn’t mean I, better than anyone else, takes the so-helpful “BIG” step back to recognize what is obscured by, well, life. As you say, “It’s easy to let life sift through our open fingers. I feel I must eventually get back to being more judicious with the use of my time.”

    That, my dear wise one, is the most clear – a klaxon call – I hope for us all to stop and see…why I am so glad to have invested my own time in reflecting on all the prompts. .B.A.L.A.N.C.E. is my own “thing/product” (in the 10 best of what I’m proud of) and yet, though this exercise of the Experience is one I’ve done with clients and (as the workshop told) my kids “on the regular”, I still need reminding myself! I’m so glad to be finally doing this as an accountability for myself and in community with you…and others.

    A perfect way to employ time…and I’m so glad we’ve done it. I’m excited now to share my own results and what Day 8 of the 8 Day Experience brings to pull it all together =)

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