Time of Your Life

Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.

By John Lennon

At first I thought…Well, what does he mean by that? What is he actually trying to tell me? After some thought I realized that much of our life, we spend reacting to the things that are going on around us.

Even though we have plans to work on that important project we are trying to pull together to increase customer satisfaction or customer service measures or create a leadership development program, something keeps getting in our way.

The thing that “gets in our way” is life.

It could be something our team needs to manage in the moment, or a customer that needs our attention or new issues around cash flow or supply chain. And it can be challenging, because there are so many issues at work that seem to demand our attention.

With my business clients, when they are not achieving the goals they want, it may be time to step back and take a breath. Looking at how they actually spend their time is a key issue for leadership effectiveness. 

If we spend our time at work reacting to the things that are coming at us, we often lose track of the plans we have made for company growth. The things that are coming at us end up becoming the fabric of our life. We don’t always choose those things. And because we don’t choose those things, we often feel dissatisfied with our work or life in general. If how you spend your time doesn’t contribute to the quality of your work and your life then you may be wasting your time. And that’s tough to see in when we are running to fast. 

That thought had me put together an exercise to see what we are doing with our time, the time that’s available to us to work and live. 

If you take a look at all of the pieces that it takes to have your life run smoothly, and you measure them in minutes, hours and days, then you can start to measure what you’re really doing with your life. You can see if you spend your time on what’s truly important to you. 

When you boil it down time falls into just a few categories. Even before we get to work we need life to run smoothly. Those personal things like sleeping, eating, laundry, getting the dishes done or house cleaning; those all take time. Those are the things that create a foundation for our success.

One way you could put it is we want to make life easy so we can get to things that we really want to do, both at work and in life.

You can map that onto your work environment, making sure you have the tools you need and the resources the resources to get the job done.

After looking at how much time does that stuff take, just the foundational pieces, then, we get to the second level of survival.

What do you do for work? And how much time do you spend at work? And what part of your value system does work satisfy? Does it satisfy only the need to create an income? Does it satisfy the need to create an income and have self development or self expression, or contribution, or growth and development? Those are the things that when you start to take a look at your time, you’ll start to see what’s important to you in the work that you do as well.

So let’s say, people work anywhere from 30 to 70 hours a week. And for you, it’s going to be a different number. Now, take your foundational numbers (how much time do I spend taking care of myself) and add it to how much time is it to do work that I love (or don’t love)?

Then there are things like commuting, we forget that commuting takes time. Though, these days, so many people are working from home, it doesn’t seem like commuting. But there’s still an element of that.

Another thing that to consider when we’re thinking about the time we have to live our lives, is what are the things you want to do after taking care of yourself and earning a living. Things like seeing friends or family or exercise or entertaining yourself, and hobbies, gardening or reading books or going out dancing. All of that takes a good amount of time.

And there’s also personal obligations that we have to people we care about. A solid awareness of those obligations helps us determine what it is we’re willing to do for other people and what boundaries we need to set. Don’t forget holidays, birthdays, gatherings, whatever.

Take a look and capture the amount of time you spend on the things in your life. Often we spend time without thinking about. Then we wonder where all that time went.

Once you see how you spend your time, you can take a better look at shaping it to do what is most important to you.

Are you ready to minimize miscommunications and maximize productivity? Shoot me a message and let’s chat.