Since you are reading a blog on a Coaching web-site, it is reasonable to assume that you have an interest in living a life of quality, a life of purpose. This requires that you focus on learning who you are, i.e., what is really important to you and then evaluating whether or not the way you are structuring your life now is achieving what you want. That is because there is a big difference between either floating from one circumstance to another or bouncing from one crisis to another (rather like an existential ping-pong ball), and that of structuring a life based on values and goals where thriving is the order of the day.
I believe that too few of us are truly mindful in organizing how our lives will unfold. Our plan or structure is the container in which we live our lives and spend our time. Without a plan based on what is truly important, we tend to fritter away our days. This can even be the case with a life of hard work or being constantly busy. The next time you find yourself saying “I’m too busy to (exercise, see my family, read a book, take a vacation……)” go on, finish that sentence. You might want to pause and determine if the life you are living is the one that you want.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey discusses the importance of putting first things first in how we spend our time. Living in the loop of unconscious activity can rob of us of quality of life both professionally and personally. I believe that working in a focussed way for a shorter period of time is far more useful than spending countless, ineffective hours engaged in work that accomplishes less while leaving one feeling both exhausted and trapped in an unsatisfying life.
You may be in your own business, or you are a professional with discretionary time, or retired, or not needing to work at all. The same principles apply. Is what you are doing important to you? And, is how you are doing it enriching your life?
When you stop and think about it, we have developed some rather strange attitudes to time. We kill it. We pass it. We spend it. We do it. We steal it. We watch the clock. We say that our time is short. It waits for no one. All the while we act like it is unlimited.
In his book On Walden Pond, Henry David Thoreau recounts being given a beautiful pair of bookends as a gift. After admiring them for a time, he got rid of them as they took his attention and time away from his appreciation of the natural world and contemplation of life in general. For Thoreau, it was a no- brainer: living in the moment 10; bookends zilch.
“For the past 33 years I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself:”‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” (Steve Jobs)