We spend every day in the trenches. Putting out today’s fire. Rising to the next occasion. We focus on moving the proverbial ball down the field. Little thought is given to what it means to cross the goal line.
I recently had occasion to enjoy a cup of coffee with a client towards the end of the day. It was a perfect time for us to sit back and just catch up. The conversation worked its way into some “big picture” topics and the question was posed, “Why do we do what we do?” My answer is very simple and it was refreshing to be reminded of it.
The Most Important Non-Renewable Resource
Much is made today of sustainability and moving beyond the use of Mother Earth’s non-renewable resources – oil, gas, coal, etc. These efforts are important, as are the related efforts of reduce, reuse and recycle. But, in the end, there is one non-renewable resource that is most important – time. The reason is simple, we measure our lives by the use of time and when your allotment is gone, no more can be had.
Let me be blunt. At the end of your days, you will never wish you had more money, a bigger house, or better cars. You’ll wish you had more time. That’s because you won’t be done yet. There will be things left for you to do. And they will remain undone. Sad? Maybe, but it also presents an opportunity.
Measuring a Life’s Success
Memories are the currency of life. The number of good ones you create is the measure of your success. This applies to the professional and personal aspects of your life.
On the professional side, contrary to what Loverboy said, you should not be working for the weekend. You need to work at a job and with people you like. This is a huge part of the time you spend making memories, so make sure you’re not squandering it. There’s a whole book in describing how to do this, but here are some examples to get you started:
- Get an officemate their favorite coffee the next time you’re out.
- Try incorporating “please” and “thank you” into every conversation.
- Smile as much as you can stand it.
You contribute your half to the interactions you have each day and you can only control that half.
The same goes for your home life. It was recently reported that Americans spend 150 hours each month watching T.V. That’s five hours a day! I know, I know. It’s not you, it’s Bob in Accounting. But even if you’re only watching two or three hours a day, consider the memories you’re making. More poignantly, what was the plot of C.S.I. last week? Turn it off; do something else. Anything else, such as:
- Go for a walk.
- Call your mom.
- Have a conversation with your significant other, even if it’s your dog.
- Play Solitaire.
Engage your mind. Take a stab at making a memory worth a damn.
Making Every Day Count
Regardless of your spiritual proclivities, the gift of time is a limited opportunity. Simplifying your perspective on how to utilize the time you have makes decision making easier. Stay focused on maximizing the number of good memories you create – a job well done, an enjoyable working environment, a nice walk around the block with your significant other or your dog or both, a long-overdue and heart-felt “I love you” to your parents – and you will quickly feel more successful.