One of our favorite podcasts is The Accidental Creative, hosted by author Todd Henry and billed as sharing how to “build practical, everyday practices that help you stay prolific, brilliant and healthy in life and work.”
(Prolific is a great word.)
One of Todd’s recent AC episodes offers a way to tell Your Time Story and starts with the question, “What’s your relationship to time?” We are willing to bet it’s one of three answers:
+ I don’t have enough of it.
+ I don’t have enough of it and I don’t use it wisely.
+ I don’t have enough of it, I don’t use it wisely, and I feel lousy about that.
Do you have another comma you would add?
Of course, other than money – the most popular “why I can’t” answer when we talk about hopes and dreams in our career and leadership programs – time is the asset we’re all tortured by and don’t have enough of.
But, as we think of our “body of work” versus the next job; our legacy versus our year-end numbers; are we running out of time as fast as we think? Part of what Todd posits is that we aren’t, and instead we are suffering from “being increasing efficient at doing decreasingly effective things.”
Let that sink in. We have plenty of time, but we are wasting it (see #2).
A TED Talk we fell in love with earlier this year, Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator, offered a similar lens: that humans put off that which isn’t deadline-driven and, in fact, those things are probably the most important: the skill you’ve been hoping (or needing) to build, the relationships you haven’t tended to, the stuff that creates excellence and expertise – and becomes what you are known for.
Instead, we fall victim to the “ping” as Todd calls it – the experience that we should be doing something other than we’re doing. We should be working, instead of taking time off to restore (and data proves why we need this – NEED not want). We should really check our Twitter feed or see if any email came in since we last checked five minutes ago.
We hear a lot of leaders praising themselves for being able to focus on a lot of things. And we hear a lot of leaders lamenting that they aren’t expert in anything.
The trade-off Todd states, and the urgency around paying attention to those long-term investments like skills and relationships, is we either:
+ Live out our career calling
+ Live out our career compromising
We choose calling. Let’s all choose calling.