Time shall unfold what plighted cunning hides:
Who cover faults, at last shame them derides.
WIilliam Shakespeare, King Lear
“I’m conscious of time” is one of those business clichés, which has been scrubbed of its meaning through overuse. We hear it at the end of meetings, presentations and conference calls. It signals the closing and is an acceptable interruption. The meaning has been so wrung out of it that it can be used to mean everything and nothing. What meaning do you make, when you hear this phrase?
What do you mean, if you say “I’m conscious of time…” Are you conscious of time as a meeting boundary that was set in advance, or are you conscious of the time of day and what that means for you or your distant colleagues on the conference call? Do you use it to close down an awkward conversation or conclude a more awkward silence? Do you mean:
I have heard them all in my mind’s ear. What could you be saying instead?
So. Now. I’m conscious of time…
We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time.
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