“The great dividing line between success and failure can be expressed in five words: “I did not have time.”
– Franklin Field
I’ve been reading Jon Acuff’s new book, “Start – Punch Fear in the Face.” For those unfamiliar with his work, Acuff writes about pursuing his dream of writing and speaking for a living. From a 200-word blog written in his kitchen to a bestselling author and sought after speaker, Acuff shares his journey to inspire others (I suggest picking up his first book, “Quitter,” which is excellent as well).
In Start, Acuff writes about how the calendar doesn’t lie. In other words, for things that we say are priorities or areas in our life that we know need our attention, does our time (calendar) reflect these priorities and areas needing attention?
Let’s say you wanted to jump ship from your current job. How much time did you spend today, this week, or this month updating your resume, researching companies, or reaching out to individuals to obtain their advice about changing jobs?
Or if your goal was to lower your weight and blood pressure through exercise, how much time did you actually spend exercising today, this week, or this month?
Or, more importantly, what did you spend your time on?
There’s a saying…“What doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done.” I’m not saying we should be breaking out our planners or scheduling every single thing that we should be doing, but the principle behind “calendar don’t lie” is simple (although the execution may be difficult):
Live life intentionally.
Seems simple until you look at the calendar and realize the goals and priorities you set for yourself have taken a back seat to things you weren’t even aware of: TV, video games, social media, etc. The point is not to stop doing these things, but to be aware of what we’re trading when we do choose to do these things.
The main point of Acuff’s message is to not let years layer on top of years only to wake up one day and realize time has slipped away without having done what you wanted to do. This is a common concern in middle age. We settle into a daily routine of work, family, responsibilities, and repeat. This cycle continues until you wake up one day and think, “Damn, where did all of the years go?”
So what are your two to three priorities and/or dreams and what are you doing today to move you closer to these things? Granted, we all have our daily responsibilities, but we should all purposefully carve out that time. That might mean 30 minutes of writing or exercising early in the morning or late at night. Or it might mean leaving work on your desk so you can make it home in time for dinner with your family. Whatever your goals and priorities may be, be mindful of the time that you’ve given it. Periodically check in to see where you’re at.
You should be able to quickly assess where you stand. The results will tell you. Plus, the calendar don’t lie.
What important things have you been putting off lately?
Post your comments below.