Time. It is a funny thing. When we have plenty of it, we can fill it with all kinds of activities, both productive and unproductive. When we don’t have enough time, there are sacrifices.
Since Thanksgiving I have been out over my skis with my time management. Not since the days of raising a family and running a demanding business simultaneously have I felt such a prisoner to my schedule. In April it will be five years since we sold our company and until recently I have been enjoying a wonderful work/life balance. But slowly over time the work part kept chipping away at the life part, and last fall I found myself with a handful of commitments and deadlines that consumed all of my time. The good news is that the commitments and deadlines have passed and were successfully achieved, and I have learned from the experience. In addition to for the time being getting better using the word “no”, I had two distinct takeaways.
HABITS BREAK DOWN
Over the last few months a few of my habits lost momentum (interestingly, just good habits, not the bad ones). My writing came to a screeching halt, I was sleeping less, my daily walks listening to audiobooks and podcasts ceased, my disciplined diet gave way to grazing all day, and the list goes on: all because I ran out of time.
When we overcommit our time, there are sacrifices. It is the classic case of the urgent trumping the important. My goal for the spring is to get my calendar balanced again and to get these habits back on track.
YOU LOSE SIGHT OF WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU
When you have your head down and focus on initiatives at hand, it is easy to block out everything that is not related to the challenge in front of you. As I finished up my major recent initiatives, I went on two trips that brought my frustrations to light; a hike/climb in the Superstition Mountains in Arizona and a snowmobile trip in northern Minnesota/Canada. Both of these trips were to remote and spectacularly beautiful places, far away from any signs of civilization. In both instances the journeys required complete focus to navigate safely with little time to enjoy the scenery and surroundings. On the hike, there were constant dangers to avoid: rocks, cliffs, cacti of all shapes and sizes. On the snowmobile ride, we paid constant attention to the act of riding lest hitting something hard and coming to an abrupt and painful stop. Fortunately, during both of these activities we broke frequently to rest and enjoy the scenery.
Being busy is like these activities; if we don’t build in some breaks and maintain our balance, we can lose sight of all the wonderful things around us.
Life is a never ending education. If we choose to, we can look back at our experiences and learn what worked and what didn’t to help us become better in the future.
What I am reading:
Professional: Meltdown – by Chris Clearfield – Amazon Link
Why Our Systems Fail and What We Can Do About It
Personal: Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour by Joseph Perisco – Amazon Link
Armistice Day, 1918 World War I and Its Violent Climax