I recently listened to the audio book, “Free to Focus” by Michael Hyatt. It was not my favorite book to be honest, but he referred to a few quotes by the Roman philosopher Seneca that struck me as profound. Here is one.
“It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it. Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested… Life is long if you know how to use it.” – Seneca, from his work On the Shortness of Life
This stood out to me because so many people seem to use the excuse, “I do not have enough time” or, “I’m too busy.” I was reminded of a comment made in the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. I’m paraphrasing but he wrote something like… most people can get less done than they think in a day, but more done than they think in five years. So true! We bog ourselves down each day with unrealistic to-do lists (at least I do at times) and then get discouraged as we check off 3 out of 10 tasks. However, many of us may coast through our day to day routines for years, never setting goals, and never reflecting on where we are, what we have done, and where we want to be in the future.
One of my larger customers at one point in time was a dedicated carrier that hauled building materials for various companies. Within the last few years, news arose that they were being bought out by a large publicly traded trucking company for over $300 million. The company being acquired was still fairly young, having started in the late 90s. So long story short, the founder had an idea one day, started a business, and grew it to a point that within less than 20 years it was valued by another business at over $300 million.
This story inspires me to think… “What can I do in 20 years, or 10 years, or 5 years?” And it does not have to be business or money related necessarily. Maybe you have another personal goal of some kind. The key question we must ask ourselves is, “How am I spending my time?”
Gary Vaynerchuck, CEO of VaynerMedia, works an insane amount of hours. But listening to his podcast recently (the G rated version!) I was surprised to find out that he claims to get 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Many successful business people seem to come out and say they don’t sleep much because they have so much going on. But Gary makes the key point that while he is awake, he does not waste time. He does not sit around and watch 3 hours of YouTube during the day, instead he is intentional and productive. Damon John, from Shark Tank, says that he schedules most everything in his life, even family time. I find that I don’t read my Bible much unless I plan ahead and set aside a time slot for it. My wife and I do not go on dates like we should unless we intentionally pick a time to do so. And I definitely do not make the amount of calls I need to make at work unless I am intentional and block off chunks of time in my schedule.
No matter how you schedule or make time for things, one thing is certain… we must be intentional with our time if we want to achieve our goals and be productive in life. Remember, life is short and precious, but life is long in many ways too. We have a lot of time to do a lot of things, but are we using the time that God gave us wisely?