Schedule

Your schedule is a product of how you allocate time.

Each day we have allocated our time. There are the eight or nine theoretical hours you are sleeping. The two and a half hours you are eating. The eight hours you are working, (and sometimes more.) And then then the two and half hours you spend as “recreational time” whether watching TV, exercising, spending time with your spouse/child(ren). You decide all of this time.

Schedule.jpg

Your schedule is as full or empty as you make it.

Your to do list. Your calendar. The sports and events your family does are all decided by you (and probably you and your spouse.)

Whether or not you have time to go to coffee with friends is decided by you. Your calendar does not decide these things. You are not owned by this digital or paperback calendar with words and time written in it.

Your calendar is filled by you and only you have the power to stop filling it.

But when it is full, you are then considered “busy”.

So when your friends ask you how you have been and you reply with, “So busy.” It is not because of external factors that make you busy. It is your own fault. You make yourself busy. And the issue with getting busy is, busyness breed more busyness.

You have to start purging your schedule of the things that do not belong on your calendar. You have to develop your priorities and cut out the cancer like a surgeon with a scalpel, cut out the parts that do not belong.

Too many work meetings? Running late? Start rescheduling them. I would venture a guess when your work meetings regularly run after hours, you regularly start choosing the fast option for dinner rather than cooking. Paying a few dollars for some cheeseburgers, fries, and pop becomes the easier option rather than getting home and preparing dinner.

Then, because you are SO busy, you have to reschedule whatever it was you were supposed to be doing instead of working and getting you and the family dinner. So you reschedule it to another day. Not because you have time on that other day, but instead because you need to reschedule your plans and that day now has too much going on and you will definitely be exhausted by the end of it.

And thus, busy-ness breeds busy-ness.

When was the last time politely said in a meeting, “I’m sorry, I need to go. My family is waiting for me.” In the meeting notorious for running past the scheduled end time?

Does your schedule rule you? Do you actually stop and calculate when you need to go to bed to get eight hours of sleep?

Or, like a sickness, you do wait until you have symptoms of being tired before you get in bed?

When was the last time you set your priorities in life, built your calendar around your priorities, and purged the rest?

Because you read this post, you should like and share my page on Facebook, Subscribe, or support me on Patreon

Less

We all have a lot to do. We have task lists, job descriptions, grocery lists, and bills to pay. There is no lack of things to do. Even when we sit down to relax, there are plenty of things fighting for our time and attention.

When these things creep into our lives, we obviously let them into our mental space. The first few odds and ends creep in, no big deal. Over time, more and more of these things creep. They go from one or two things to being a few things here, a few things there. A couple nice things for this every week or two and three or four good things for that. These things take over.

These extras take over. We are not doing what we set out to do. Our focus is lost to all of these non-essentials taking over. In no time flat, our entire task list is filled with tasks we would not dedicate our lives to completing.

Because we are doing so many things, we cannot do anything well. We can only skate by doing a mediocre job a so very many different tasks and projects. We would do better if we could. But there are not enough hours in the day.

What are your priorities? What are you saying yes to doing? What are you saying no to doing? What are you not doing as well as you could? Does your task list match your priorities?

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Busy

I do not know for sure if this actually came from Eugene Peterson or not. But this Twitter account claims it as his.

No matter where you stand on pace, speed, and to do lists. I think the illusion of busyness is a symptom of a disease. For me, the disease is a lack of self control. When I am, “too busy.” I am actually saying my schedule owns me and I am taking the time to organize and prioritize my tasks. I am letting my time be ruled by external unimportant to do lists and tasks rather than my priorities.

I always have time for my priorities. It is the moment when I let non-priorities take over when I am sick with busyness.

What does busyness look like for you? What does it mean when you are too busy? What are your priorities?

Prioritizing,

–JT

Love the post? Please share it on Facebook or support me on Patreon

Resources Ltd.

I was listening to a newer podcast I like and it assesses Apple and their ability to succeed in the face of difficult circumstances. They were assessing numbers and viability and market share and all the products Apple sells.

One of the things they were talking about was how Apple was moving to be more service and subscription based and less product based. In their discussion, they asked a pivotal question about what will people be talking about in twenty years regarding Apple and their sustainability and their success and what made them great. They even asked about Apple’s longevity and whether or not they would still be in business in twenty years and whether or not their current products and services would be necessary.

All of this questioning made me ask and question how a company could still last in twenty years. How could a company sustain itself for so long? What products can we guarantee will be around in twenty years and they are around today?

I came up with a few different products. But only one of those products really hit me in the gut.

Time.

Time is the globally universal product we all have. We spend it. We steal it. We lose. We find it. We try to make it. We never have enough of it. And too often we waste it.

Time is limited and I trade it too easily.

Time is limited and I give it away at the drop of a hat.

What is your time worth? How do you spend your time? In twenty years, do you want to look back and say you spend your time this way? Who can help you stay on track for spending your time better?

Timely,

–JT

Specializing

I have not talked about my health progress and goals of the last year much anywhere, but suffice to say I have been living healthier, exercising, and eating right. Specifically, in reference to eating right, I try to ask myself, “Is this worth it?” If the food is outside of my goal lifestyle, is it worth it? An exception being, special events and celebrations with friends. These events are places where I will generally let myself go a little outside of the normal boundaries and goals.

When I get together with friends, I want to eat pretty much whatever I want. I want to be able to relax and not think about it. Which is great. Truly the right reason to break from the norm is to celebrate and socialize and be good company in good company. 

Though, there is a bit of a downfall to this mentality. Special events come more and more frequently. After a while, Saturday becomes a special event on its own merit. Eventually, Sunday joins his brother Saturday and is special as well. A little while later, I am sitting on a bench in the locker room thinking about the last eight weekends wondering why every weekend is special. What happens when everything is special? 

Special starts to lose its glamour. 

Special starts to become much more of a norm and much less of a treat.

Suddenly, nothing is special. 

I find myself needing to raise the bar on what I am calling special in my diet. And in other areas I am finding I need to lower the bar. Truly, I am finding I need to reexamine what I call special and start setting it apart from the other areas of my life. I need to make it truly special. Dinner with my wife might happen four, five, or six nights a week, but do I actually make that moment special? Do I actually set those moments apart and treat them like they are actually more important than the two hundred some odd tweets I have not had time to read from today? 

What is your definition of special? What sets the special moments apart from the mundane for you? Where have you gone astray in your ability to set apart these moments?

Specializing,

–JT

Phones

Phones. Let's be real. Most all of us have one. We use them. According to some people, credible or not, 1 out of 8 of us are probably addicted to our phones or need to take some time, specifically 6&7March, to unplug. 

I cannot vouch for this or not. But I can vouch for what I see and my struggle. 

What I struggle with is the text message or tweet that comes in during dinner with my wife. The Facebook messenger notification that comes up during a work meeting. Or maybe even the push notification coming in from my podcast app of choice about the new episode of my favorite episode that became available. Then I do not control myself. I look over and see my phone has lit up with a notification and read it. I know I shouldn't. My wife will tell you that I struggle to not read it. And I aspire to be better about not reading these notifications with her and with others. I struggle to be more present in the conversations I am apart of so I am not tied to other people interjecting into my life. People who may or may not have a right to do so. 

I have a friend who once described the struggle something like this:

Imagine you're sitting down with someone whom you care about. Your spouse, a long lost friend, or someone you care deeply for. 

They have their phone on the table, not in their hand or anything. You are talking along and you are really enjoying your time together when suddenly their phone makes chimes in with a notification. 

Someone has texted them. 

They look down.

They pick up their phone and say, “Sorry, just a second."

They quickly reply to the text.

And then resume the conversation. 

Except now, there are three of you in the room, and you don't know who the third person is and you did not invite them into the time you are sharing with your loved one. However, they are sitting with you now and they might interrupt again at any moment. 

But the two of you resume the conversation and you engage your friend. They wouldn't let a conversation drag out on their phone and they would tell you if it is important. 

You trust them.

However, shortly there after, their phone chimes in again. Actually it chimes in three times. You notice the green bubbles on their lit up screen and recognize the sound from before.

They're texts.

At a glance you can't read the names, you're not being nosy, but you can tell the messages are from three different people. 

Your person apologizes again and picks up their phone. They quickly flick the toggle to silence it and unlock it. They say, "Oh, I'm in a group message now. They're party planning and I need to respond really quick."

You say, "It's ok." And excuse yourself to the bathroom, grab fresh some fresh snacks, and refill your beverages. 

Convenient timing. 

Then you sit down a few minutes later and this person of meaning locks their phone, and you resume talking. 

Unfortuneately, now there are several more people in the room. 

They weren't invited either. 

They're vocal. You still don't know these people and they’re interrupting. Your friends phone continues to vibrate infrequently. They're good not to check it. But it is sitting on their lap and your person is talking, you can hear it going off. 

Sometimes, this person that means so much to you, looks down and checks their phone while you're talking or they're talking or in those moments when you're laughing together. 

These people are here though. 

You can't get them out of the conversation and you've lost a part of this person sitting across the table from you.

You can not force these other people out. 

You. Are. Stuck.

Like I said before. I’m guilty of this. I’m not perfect at all. I’ve done this and I’m not proud of it. I’ve done this with people who I care deeply about and I’ve done this with people I am barely getting to know. I’ve done this. I’m not saying the phone is evil. I’m simply trying to point out how rude it is to invite people into a place where they do not belong. How hard I can make it on other people by inviting outsiders into a place that should be private, professional, or free of distractions.

I've taken steps in my life to minimize these opportunities. The first step I’ve taken is ‘silent mode.’ When my phone is on silent. My phone is silent. It does not vibrate, jiggle, or make a single noise. As a matter of fact, if I set my phone on my desk face down in ‘silent mode,’ my friends could start a four hour group message about whether Episode IV or Episode VI is better or if they like Picard or Kirk better and I would never know. Nobody sitting near my phone would know. The phone would simply sit there. Unmoving. Inanimate. It would be simply a phone on a desk. 

The second thing I’ve done to minimize my phone’s ability to interject into my life is I am picky about what does and does not get to light up my phone’s screen or make a noise (in the event my phone is not in ‘silent mode’.) I’ve gone through my notification settings and decided who does and does not get to light up my screen. Do I really need to get notifications from Dropbox on my phone’s screen because somebody invited me to share a folder full of pictures of their latest trip to Hell’s Gate State Park? How about from Starbucks, do I really need to know that they are having half priced scones? Or can these things wait for me to check them? 

Is my phone about instant notifications about everything going on in the world? Or is my phone about notifications that are relevant to me and what I need to know. And only the things that are most important get to cut through to me. Only when a notification truly matters and makes a difference in my relationship with someone else do I let the notification through.

Really, I have been trying to minimize distractions. I am trying to maximize the time I have with the people I am with. So they are more valued and I am more present. 

How many people are you letting into your conversations? Could anyone with your phone number interrupt you? Could anyone you’re friends with on Facebook interrupt you at any moment by commenting on the meme you posted last night or by liking the picture of beef stroganoff you posted on Instagram? 

How intentional are you about protecting the time you have with real people sitting in the room with you right now?

Focused,

–JT

Breathe

Stop, Take a deep breath, rinse and repeat. 

Today is Christmas Eve. It isn’t like I don’t have enough other thing going on. There are things to do with family, friends, rushing around, and of course last minute shopping. The worst part about last minute shopping is it is always followed up by last minute wrapping. I would argue that last minute wrapping is the number one reason men are so bad at wrapping gifts. 

Today of all days is the day I need to stop, take a deep breath, and remember why I’m doing anything I’m doing.

Why am I so worried about gifts?

Why am I so busy with family?

Why am I spending so much time with friends? 

Why. WHY. WHY!? 

These are the people I value most. So before I get snarky with them because I’m tired and I don’t want to be running like I am. I need to stop, breathe and focus on what I hold most important. And, if these things I’m trying to do are truly an inhibitor for me to connect and prioritize those people. Time to skip these priorities. The reality is, in twenty years, nobody is going to remember what I got them for Christmas. Everyone will remember how I treated them. How are you showing the most important people in your life that they are a priority to you?

Reprioritizing,

–JT