Everything that money can’t buy is, logically, FREE! These are theimportant, indispensible, irreplaceable, unputdownable elements of our lives! Yet we do precious little to nurture, develop, grow and protect all those things that come free in Life and work 60+-hour weeks ‘earning a living’ and trying to cling on to, protect stuff, that in the end are impermanent, dispensible, unimportant, forgettable and replaceable!
Isn’t that kind of weird?
Some years back Mastercard ran an advertisement campaign that went “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s Mastercard!” The campaign’s tagline was “Priceless”. It is an intelligent campaign. And a gentle reminder that while we are busy ‘earning a living’ Life is ticking away. While all things money can buy can still be bought, Life can’t really be wound back. And that’s why it is so priceless. Yet we don’t quite understand the value of what’s invaluable __ living totally!
I was recently working with a bunch of managers who wanted to “understand Life in order to gain a “work-Life” balance”. The CFO had not slept for more than 3 hours nightly in three weeks. The HR Head had been too busy to even rush his wife, who was having premature labor pains, to the hospital and laments that despite that incident he is unable to “create” more than a few hours at home even on weekends. The Maintenance Head is having a complicated lung situation but is unable to quit his smoking. And the CEO is trying to commute between three plants in different states trying to ensure targets are met and that people are “on the ball”. His crib: Because his people don’t “show accountability”, he has not been able to take a break in over six months – not even a weekend off!
I was reminded of what I had learned from Richard Carlson (Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff): “Your Inbox is never going to be empty!”
I strongly believe that:
- If you are, as a manager, working more than 8 hours daily (that includes checking mail and responding to them or taking conference calls from other time zones) then one or several of these conditions are true:
- a. You are a poor decision-maker
- b. You are just horribly organized
- c. Your boss is inefficient
- d. Your subordinates are inefficient
- e. All of the above!
2. Don’t take your Blackberry to the dining table and don’t wake up looking at it. Put it off
or on silent mode and leave it away from you while at home. Designate times while at
home when you will check your phone for calls and mails.
3. When with the family, BE with the family
4. When AT work, WORK – without distraction, without frittering away your time in
5. Have the courage to say NO to unproductive meetings or attending meetings whose
agenda can be completed over mail or at least your contribution/input can be shared
Remember this: Life is not going to make time for you. YOU, only YOU, have to make time for living your Life. Nobody can make it for you! Recognize that Life is ticking away. To be sure, you will die sooner or later. If you don’t LIVE now you probably will die wondering what all those meaningless hours spent at work__“being frightfully busy, with no time for anyone, even for yourself, yet having achieved nothing great”__were really all about?