If you ever wish to feel guilty deep in your gut, read a few books on the “how-tos” of business success. Because in the eyes of many consulting gurus, we’re all huge time-wasters.
I’ve sometimes fallen under the spell of that “expert advice.” On occasion, I’ll take too seriously Dr. Seuss’s line, “How did it get so late, so soon?” I get caught up in the nervous rush to maximize my contributions, keeping one eye on my watch and the other on my to-do list. At weak moments, I allow other people’s expectations of me to wreak havoc on my serenity. Tick tock, tick tock, Don runs up someone else’s clock.
In healthier times, I seize chunks of hours and invest them in the pleasures of carefree games and playful companionship. I remind myself that the measure of one’s worth is not determined by some business school computation. Some minutes are meant to be squandered with a smile on my face.
Take my home life, for example. Sherry and I have a ping-pong table in our family room and a pool table in our dining room. Upstairs, we have games of Scrabble, chess and Monopoly that never close down. Outside, we have an old horseshoe pit and a tuft of artificial grass that serves as a golf ball launching pad. I often sneak up the mountain with my dogs to a tent filled with fun books and more games. Each of these playful opportunities is another way to forget about timelines and deadlines and just appreciate the moment.
I’d hate to think what one of those time-sensitive gurus would say looking over our property. I hope they’d be able to drop their efficient façades long enough to join Sherry and me on a meandering, destination-free hike.
Yes, I still believe in working diligently for my companies and communities. I always hope I measure up to my potential. I have written Interactive Journals on time-management and goal-setting. And yet, when I look back and judge my application of the minutes provided to me, I haven’t followed a guru’s “ten secrets to time-saving success.”
When I honestly answer Dr. Seuss’s question about how it got so late so soon, it’s more about all the adventures, all the people and all the games that made each day last forever, and each year fly by.