Making the most of the time we have

Making things count

Remember Robin Williams in the film ‘Dead Poets Society’. Robin Williams plays a teacher with a great thirst for life who encourages his student through the rallying cry “carpe diem” or “seize the day”.  He invites his students to question, find their own truths, and live as if each moment counts. I don’t know about you but I find myself slipping into bad habits and wasting what precious time I do have.

This is not a blog on time management – there are heaps of those already out there. While techniques are important, I have discovered it is about what spins my wheels that keeps me on track. It doesn’t matter how many great time management ideas there are, without it making sense at a personal level, forget it. Let’s face it, if we don’t connect with the ideas/values/ideals behind a behaviour, then it just isn’t going to happen.

How do you decide how to use time and achieve that balance. I really struggle with getting the balance right. In fact this might be my life’s work. Ask my partner who has lived with my tendency to overwork. I suspect I am not alone in trying to keep my career on track, my relationships with my partner in shape (my own body in shape as well), keeping up with the ever changing lives of our children, and of course then there are wider family and friends.

I have found the four following ideas as good markers for making the time I have count. I live by the notion that I want to be passionate in my life and work, make a difference and maintain integrity throughout the process.

  1. Living according to your values – do you ever have the feeling that you are doing things that don’t fit with your values and they rub. I don’t know about you, but I feel I am losing a part of myself in the process when I go against my better judgement.
  2. Make every action and decision count – decisions often have long-term implications. Taking the time to think about the short, medium and long-term impact of decisions. It is often easier to give into the immediate pleasure of avoidance rather than doing activities for a longer-term reward.
  3. Don’t be too quick to judge – I met someone the other day in a training event. Taking the time to connect turned into a fascinating (and long) conversation. What a rich story of work, separation, growing children, changing careers. What turned out to be a simple conversation lead on to a dinner together where the conversation continued to flow.
  4. What is your legacy? – what is it that you want to leave behind. I know as I get older this becomes a more interesting reflection. What is it I will be remembered for? Have I left the place better or worse for having been here?
  5. Use time wisely – I am on the road a lot with my job. You can imagine that at the end of a long day in the training room that it is very tempting to sit down and blob in front of the TV in my motel or hotel room. I admit I still do this from time to time. I am starting to plan for an interesting activity at the end of each day. The other day I was able to borrow a bicycle from the motel that I was training at and went on a long bike ride.

What do you do to keep your wheels spinning and making the most of the time you have?  Love to hear your thoughts.

Published on Thursday, March 8th, 2012, under What Ken thinks

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