The only thing we all have in common is time. 24 hours per day, and seven days per week.
“Time isn’t lost and you don’t find it,” my friend Rabbi Les Gutterman likes to say. “You take time for those things that you really care about, that you really value, that you understand are precious and holy and life-enhancing.”
In other words, not only is time the one thing we all have in common – it’s also our most important asset.
That’s why your datebook is the most important book in your home. It shows where your values and priorities really are – where you’re investing your most important capital (time).
In fact, I think that might be the key time management skill: treating time like capital that you can invest or squander.
Does your datebook reflect valuable use of that capital? Or are you squandering that capital?
Ambition and time can sometimes be a dangerous mix. I see it all the time with younger employees. They're in such a rush to make the most of every minute, of that precious capital, that they don't slow down and take their time with things that need extra attention and care.
Reminds me of an old joke:
A cop pulls a man over for running a stop sign.
The driver gives the cop a lot of grief, explaining that he did stop. For several minutes, the cop insists that he didn’t stop.
“You just slowed down through the intersection,” the cop says.
“Stop, slow down, who cares?” the man says. “What’s the difference?”
So the policeman says, “Sir, step out of the car.”
He proceeds to hit the man with his nightstick for about a minute.
After a nice drubbing the cops says:
“Now, would you like me to slow down or stop?”
It's important to stop what you're doing now and then, to step back, take a deep breath, and relax.
Time is a limited commodity, but you can't always treat it like it's running out. It's precious, and you have to handle it with care.