Last week, someone said to me, “Gosh. I don’t know how you do it.” It was meant as a compliment. They were referring to my productivity level – coupled with the breadth and diversity of related activities that I engage in. Honestly, I get that a lot. My answer is typically some more polite form of “I choose to.”
Rather than explaining my personal scheduling tactics or habits, I will pose a question to you: How will you spend your day? The decision is yours.
I have a favorite expression; I don’t even know whether I coined it myself or heard it somewhere along the way. It is always some variant of this: We all have the same 24 hours in a day; we each simply choose how to spend them. In fact, I wrote about it on November 22, 2011 in my post called, “There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Meeting.”
Like me, I am quite certain that you have multiple priorities in any given day, things vying for your attention; a serious competition of tasks, responsibilities, events, expectations. And, like me, I am quite certain that you sometimes struggle to get it all done, to take time for the things that you really want to do, to have a little time left at the end just for you to, perhaps, do… dare I say it? Nothing.
Personally, I often have to recalibrate. For example, I have been extremely busy with work and various volunteer commitments over the past few weeks. It has taken a toll on the amount of time I was available to my family and left me beat to a pulp. When this happens, I do this: Take a little time for myself and go off the grid for a while. I sleep in. I stay in my jammies all day. Sometimes, I don’t answer the phone! (gasp!) Once that is out of my system, I get back to doing. Inefficiency simply drives me mad.
Benjamin Franklin famously said, “There will be sleeping enough in the grave.” If memory serves, he was comparing a lazy person to a person of leisure. I’m not even going there. I simply suggest to you to spend your 24 wisely. Soak it up. Live life. Work hard. Play harder. Gather your experiences around you like a warm blanket. Then, share them with others. Use them to your benefit as you transfer knowledge from experience to experience. For example, borrow lessons learned from your most recent vacation and apply them to the way that you make decisions in the board room, to the way that you interact with your team. You, your colleagues, your clients, your contacts will be enriched from you having gotten the most from each day. It will help you to build meaningful, enduring relationships. Nobody will ever accuse you of wasting that precious resource called Time.