If your time were money … would you let others decide how you spend it???
Who among us has not complained about how busy our lives are, about not having time for this or that, about how we are over-scheduled and just worn out? At work, a week full of meetings scheduled by others (sometimes double and triple booked) can leave one laughing at the idea of taking the time to grow and develop ourselves. The best of intentions have not translated into growth – crowded out by the more immediate issues of the day.
But if we allow this – and it IS a decision – we can see years pass in our career where we are really not progressing and growing professionally.
I don’t just mean promotions. In fact I don’t mean promotions at all – because sometimes chasing that has us focusing on the wrong things. I mean US growing and becoming better and better at what we do – going from good to great in our areas of strength, or focusing on development to improve on a weakness that is getting in the way of our progress.
I am in the midst of reading two books by Christian authors that – unplanned by me entirely – both touch on the question of our soul and our purpose, and how the decisions we make about the pace of our life and how we invest our time matters. Here are the book links:
Soul Keeping by John Ortberg Soul Keeping Link
The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst Best Yes Link
I love this topic and can absolutely attest to how vital this is. Every week I look at the calendar ahead – the coming week, and the next several weeks ahead. – and I ask myself two questions about each and every meeting:
- Am I crucial to this meeting. More specifically, if I am not there, can the goals still be accomplished? If all I need is an update, surely someone can send that along. If the answer is no, its off my calendar. Period.
- What are the things that I want to accomplish that no one else will schedule my time for. Something that I need to be the catalyst for – whether that’s personal development, mentoring others, or thinking more broadly about the business. Then I schedule myself into those things.
Because if you are not very focused and intention about how you spend your time, it will be wasted. I like the idea of opportunity cost – the opportunity cost of spending time on something of limited value is the value you could have received from spending your time in another way, on something more impactful. Whether that’s something like strategy that can get squeezed out by the immediate, a complicated issue that requires some reflection, a new initiative you want to get going but you need time to plan, or time needed to meet your personal development goals … these can all get crowded.
Of course sometimes things interfere, schedules change and we adjust. But without the two things above – day in and day out, week in and week out – we will be left to work longer, add less value and grow less in our abilities as leaders and as people with the ability to make a difference. CRITICAL WORK, right?
The exact same thing applies outside of the office … but that’s for another day. If time were money and you were investing each minute of it, what would you change about your schedule?