In modern society, we’re always going after The Next Big Thing. Sometimes we work for months, maybe even years, to get to where we want to be. But once we get there, we’re still not satisfied. There’s some new goal, or some new house, or maybe some obstacle that prevents us from really, truly enjoying where we are. Like Barbara Bush once said, life is like a train ride where you can’t wait to get off to see that exciting Promised Land. You may think it is life after college, or after your first job, or after you get married. But then it becomes after your children are grown, or after you retire. Pretty soon, what’s left? No matter where you are in life, there are dissatisfactions and trials and tribulations you never accounted for. You have to make the time to appreciate matters.
What’s more, learning how to make the best of the time you have in all aspects of your life can really help you succeed.
I’ll give an example. Recently, I went on a vacation to Jamaica for a long weekend. I didn’t think that I had the time to go — my to-do list feels more to me like a fast-growing organism than a manageable checklist most days — but then I thought about it. I talked to my staff about it. I spoke to my friends and family about it. They all insisted I should go. The conclusion: 96 hours wouldn’t kill me, or my business. (Especially since two of the days were Saturday and Sunday).
So I went. And I ended up having one of the best times of my life.
And somewhere between the relaxing and beach-gazing, I got to reflecting on my life. And it occurred to me that somewhere between starting this company and now, I’ve gotten two years older. I’ve had one of the best times of my life professionally, learning and growing all of the time, but I haven’t been developing my hobbies or skills or friendships in the ways I would like.
When I got back, I set daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals and schedules. These not only got me to where I wanted to be professionally, but left time and even (gasp!) to do other things. Things like running, Pilates, drawing, meeting friends, buying friends cards and gifts for their birthdays and anniversaries, time to live. Time that is certainly limited, but valuable. Time that is worth protecting.
Surprisingly enough, I believe that this is helping. When time to get work done feels more limited, I hustle more. I show up early or on time to every single meeting. I am sharp and effective. In short, I respect others’ time better because I respect my time better. When 18 hours a day are not available to get the work done, the time that is available for work feels precious and valuable as well.
Is this approach for everyone? No. And I also believe that life is a pendulum that swings — sometimes I’m more on the workaholic side, and sometimes I’m more on the playful side. Since starting the company two years ago, I’ve done little but work, and that was (mostly) effective. But at this point, I am finding more of a balance is leading me (and the company) to better, sharper results.
In a few months, that may change. But for now, I am enjoying what I have and where I am, while I go after all that I want from my life.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in Comments!
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