There is a new song out by Josh Turner entitled “Time is Love”. Every time I hear this song it is a mini-exercise in personal and professional strategic planning for me.
How often do we think about where we spend our time- and really get honest with ourselves? How often do we think about what we really care about, what matters most? And the final step… how often do we compare what matters most with where we actually spend our time? How big is the gap?
Regardless of whether we are talking about personal or business priorities, almost all of us have phases where we slip into “auto pilot”, moving from task to task without consciously connecting with how we are burning through our days. We hear stories about people who have a “scare” related to a potential fatal illness and a new found ability to live more purposefully and in alignment with what really matters. It is as if without a wake up call of huge proportion, we find it very difficult to discipline ourselves, to take the time to think consciously about how we spend our days.
So very often when someone is having a career crisis or significant issues with their current career trajectory we find it has been years since they spent quality time thinking about the direction they have taken and how they are spending their days.
This discussion is not about passing judgement. Each of us has the right to decide what matters most to us and how we want to reflect these priorities in our life. The question is whether you know what is most important- consciously , whether you know where you spend your time- consciously, and whether the two are in alignment. We may think we know how we are spending our time, but frequently after a month of conscious record keeping individuals are shocked by how they actually spend the precious hours of each day.
In business, this consciousness is called strategic planning. Often businesses have as much trouble staying on track with their stated priorities as people do. No surprise because , corporate or not, businesses are people driven. It is very common to stray from what is most important or to experience major events that should alter where we spend time. It is uncommon to regularly and honestly take stock and make adjustments. This is, however, one of the single most important things we can do for career and business success, not to mention life satisfaction.
As you go off to the American 4th of July holiday and think about all of the advantages this country still offers its citizens, take time to reflect. Time is our currency, and in many ways “Time is Love”. How do you spend yours? What does the way you spend your time say about what is most important to you?
Mary L Bennett, MBA, CEC, CIA