By Steve Moran
I thought about titling this “How to Live on Just 24 Hours a Day,” because it’s a ridiculous idea since we are all doing it every single day. The question really should be this: Are we getting the most of the 24 hours a day we each have?
Like you, I receive several hundred emails every day. On a typical day, 30-60 need a response, the rest not so much. The problem with those that don’t need a response is that they still need something, or they continue to live in our inbox.
Each of us has some choices with what we do with those emails. I know some of you are committed to a zero emails in your inbox policy, and I kind of admire that. It does not work for me, simply because it takes time to do something as simple as deleting unimportant emails.
I am currently reading the book Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, which is more about setting priorities than true time management. One of the most intriguing ideas is that we set time management and life goals that actually make it harder to use our time well. For instance …
Imagine that you have set a goal to visit every single country in the world (a number that ranges from 193 to over 220, depending on the list you are looking at). It sounds like a pretty cool goal, but maybe not as much as you might think. Here is why.
Some of those countries are terrible places to visit. They can be hard to get to, dangerous, or simply unpleasant places to visit. If you spend your resources (time and money), it is time and money you can’t spend doing something else. It might very well be that visiting those places will mean that you will not do things or go places that will really give you the experiences you crave, the life you desire.
Say You Did It …
I used to be a volunteer ski patroller, and it was a pretty cool experience most of the time. But the leader at one resort where I patrolled was terrible, to the point where the only good part of patrolling there was being able to say, “I am a ski patroller.”
How many times do we do this when traveling? We go someplace cool, get our cameras out, shoot a photo or video to “prove” we were there, that we did that thing. But in reality, we were so intent on being able to say we went someplace or did something that we never actually took the time to enjoy it.
I visited the Sistine Chapel in Rome one time. But if I am honest, the only thing I can really say about it is that I was there. The crowds were so huge that in a place where I really wanted to sit and contemplate, to absorb the art and the significance of the place, it felt more like being in a Disneyland queue.
This Year …
My challenge for you and me this year is to be purposeful about the way we spend our time. Find delight in the things you choose to not do, like dealing with 19,000 unread emails.
Ask yourself: What do I want written on my headstone when I’m gone? I know for me, it is about having an impact on the lives of others.
P.S. If you sent me an email and think it is in the 19,000, send it again. I didn’t really mean to ignore you.