My first ever blog post was the original version of this article and it seems fitting that I reviewed and rewrote it today. That’s because today is, or more specifically was my mother’s birthday. You see last year on the 7th anniversary of her passing I decided I would consciously celebrate her on the day she was born. She died at the young age of 58. So, as I reflect on her, her life, her strengths, and stretches, it’s a good reminder to all of us to step back and think about how we spend our time on the planet. (Read the original post here.)
There are 24 hours, 1,440 minutes and 86,400 seconds in a day. Our hearts will beat on average 75 beats per minute which equate to 108,000 times a day. We will breathe an average of 16 times a minute, 23,040 times a day…. 8,409,600 per year. If you’re like me, it’s easy to think that time, heartbeats and breaths are infinite. And yet, for every minute that passes, we are closer than ever to our last heartbeat and final breath. I think that on some level we all get this and understand it. But somehow in the activity of life, we forget to spend a moment to really reflect on the preciousness of time, and the speed in which it passes.
This post is a reminder, and with this reminder, I hope it gives you permission to pause. Permission to take a moment to step out of the weeds of your day and reflect on whether you’re investing your time in the right places. Because if nothing else, I’d love you to realise that each second lost, each heartbeat passed, and each breath taken is a chunk of your life.
Time is not money… time is chunks of your life that you will never make more of, and never get back!
This is awfully deep for a business post… can we lighten it up a bit Shannyn?
Sure thing… but let’s not bury the lead…
We are trading time for chunks of our life!
I believe that we often caught up in the “busy” of life. Within the busy, there are pressures to keep the wheels of life and business in motion and then under that pressure, we often forget the value of the chunks of time (and life) that we lose along the way. If we took a moment and considered the actual value of the commodity of our time, would you value it differently? As a result – what would you do differently?
Let’s consider some examples.
- A client pays you $x,000 pa. They are a pain in the proverbial and the interactions with them suck you dry. They leave you uninspired, frustrated and deflated. Is the value of the dollar worth the time you’re putting into keeping them as a client?
- A team member, who is a good person, but isn’t a cultural fit, takes up your time by throwing their monkeys on your back. They spend a lot of time distracting others, and you spend a lot of time thinking about doing something about it. What’s the cost of not taking action based on the chunks of life lost?
- You’re stuck in a networking event with someone who you’ve decided isn’t a good fit for your business. They keep talking and you don’t stop them because you don’t want to appear rude. How many heartbeats have you lost?
- You’re Netflix binging while your partner huffs in the background, unwilling to rehash the argument about your disconnection. Are you getting a return on your Netflix time, and at what cost?
- You’re tired; you’ve been working hard. You’ve not prioritised your health or self-care. As a result, you have a health scare. Were the chunks given away to work worth it?
OK, okay! We get it… what do we do about it?
Take a moment and think of each chunk of activity as a percentage of your remaining life. If you realise that the number of heartbeats and breaths lost during the activity isn’t going to give you a return worthy of the investment, what are you going to do about it?
Here are some suggestions to help you maximise the value of the time left in life:
Spend a moment before each “chunk” in your day and confirm in your mind the purpose of the activity.
If it doesn’t connect with your value/time/life philosophy, then reconsider why you’re doing it in the first place. A default or ideal diary can help set a routine to remind you about chunking time and ensuring that each chunk is delivering an outcome. Investing in chunks such as “health”, “family time”, “dating” will remind you to invest in areas that are not just about business.
Know your standards, and the rules you do business (and life) by.
If you’re in a situation where you’re breaking your rules, stop, reset and start again. Take the networking event example and remind yourself that you’re there to get connections to grow your business. If there is someone you’re talking to and they are not a match for your business, or you’ve done enough to start the interaction and plan to catch up in the future, consciously move on. It’s not about being rude, it’s about ensuring your return on the time investment.
Know the outcome you want to achieve.
If you’re not on track to the outcome halfway through the “chunk” of time you’ve assigned for an activity, set a new course. For example, if you’re in a meeting, and it’s becoming a talk fest with no objective or purpose, be prepared to call it out. You’ll probably be surprised how grateful others in the meeting are because they too are having chunks of their life stolen.
Don’t allow others to waste your life with their agendas.
As decent humans, I believe in patience and politeness. However, if I value my own heartbeat and the breaths I have left, I can’t be running to someone else’s agenda. It’s harsh, but that’s the whole point of this article. With the limited time left, focus on being crystal clear about what’s important to you. If someone else’s agenda doesn’t align with your outcomes, be OK to move on.
Know what you love and do that daily.
We have a choice. We can live out our heartbeats in a miserable malaise or live with passion, gratitude, and joy. We can be an inspiration to ourselves and others by investing our energy into the things, the people and the experiences that we love, or we can choose not to. If we make that choice to say yes to a life of greater meaning and the result is, you need to get home in time to connect with your loved ones; then nothing in life has a higher value than that. No client nor putting out any metaphorical fire…. Nothing.
Because, at the end of the day, you’re 108,000 fewer heartbeats and 23,040 fewer breaths away from your final ones. Is the time you spent this day worth that investment of the chunk of your life?
Want more time? As a business coach, I help people reclaim their lives and spend more time on the things they love. If you need to define your value, get more time and get more from life, get in touch.Tags: Personal Development Time Management