Are you busy? Do you wish you had more time?
I have 1411 Saturdays to go before I'm 75. I keep count nowadays because of a story I read about a young man going to visit his great uncle.
The young man found the old man sitting in his shed looking at a marble with a large empty jar beside him. In answer to the question about what he was doing the older man smiled and held up the marble and shared his story.
"The average person lives to be 75 years old. When I was younger I was always so busy - rushing here and there, meetings, appointments, travel, work, you name it I was busy doing it.
"Then in my early 40s I had a health scare and my doctor warned me I would not get to see out my 3900 Saturdays at the rate I was going. When I asked what he meant he said that there are 3900 Saturdays in a 75-year life and if I wanted to see them all I would need to change my lifestyle.
"I worked out I had about 1800 Saturdays to go, so I went and bought this jar and 1800 marbles and every Saturday I take a marble out and put it in a wooden box. Watching those marbles disappear was a constant reminder to me to enjoy my life. Today is my 75th birthday. Every Saturday after this is a blessing."
The young man cancelled his Saturday work plans, went home and surprised his wife and kids and took them out for breakfast. After breakfast, he took them to a toy shop and bought himself some marbles.
There is a lot going on. Covid-19 has ground economies and world travel to an almost standstill. Property prices are rocketing by $1000 a day in Palmy and around much of New Zealand.
The news is full of all that is wrong in the world. If you focus on this it is easy to despair for the future. Look around you. We have far more to be grateful for than we do to worry about. Energy flows where focus goes. Focus on what you want more of.
In recent years there has been a growing trend to talk more about "energy and attention management" rather than "time management". You cannot manage time. There are 86,400 seconds in a day and when they are gone, they are gone. Busyness is a choice. It does not make for great business or a great life.
Focus on being productive rather than busy, on enjoying the days you have. Work out what your priorities are and ensure you focus on what is the most important.
Many people have their days swept away in the whirlwind of the urgent. It does not need to be this way.
Take time this week to look at where your time goes and encourage your team to do the same. A simple 15-minute time tracker works well.
Review the results and methodically start to remove the non value-add items. Work out which of your activities adds the most value and block time to do this in the following week. Focus = action. Focus on what matters and you are far more likely to get the results you desire.
+ Mike Clark is director and lead trainer and facilitator at Think Right business training company.