If time be of all things most precious, wasting time must be the greatest prodigality, since lost time is never found again.
- Benjamin Franklin
We live in a culture that values productivity and abhors wasting time. It's that old Protestant work ethic. We create systems to help us make the most of our waking hours. We admonish ourselves to be always industrious and never idle.
But looking at time from a productivity standpoint, while valid, is also an incomplete picture. The value of how we spend our time is more than just the sum total of widgets we can crank out. It's also about what we experience, and how we use our unique gifts and abilities.
It's not just about quantity; it's also about quality.You have heard me say many times, "You can never be anybody else half as well as you can be you." And yet most people spend their careers attempting to do just that. They cram themselves into ill-fitting careers that will never let them truly shine.
Here are some questions you might ask as you ponder whether you are making the most of the few precious ticks of the clock you have on this planet, or whether you are squandering it.
- How well does what I'm doing align with who I am?
- How well does what I'm doing align with what I'm here to do?
- Does my work feel natural, or does it feel like a constant strain to force myself to fit?
- Do I feel like I'm making a difference that I care about?
- Am I getting to use the skills and abilities I love to use?
- Does what I'm doing leave me feeling positive?
- When I think of the way I feel about my work, is that a feeling a would wish for a loved one?
- Does the way my work makes me feel create a positive ripple effect in my life, or a negative one?
I have nothing against the productivity picture of how we use our time. It helps us make the most of whatever it is we're doing.
But when the sole measuring stick is quantity, and quality gets left out of the picture, we risk being incredibly effective at doing something that neither energizes nor inspires us and wastes what we have to offer.
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The Occupational Adventure Guide:
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by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst