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Make Time. Be Consistent.

As a new year gets underway, we're bombarded with blog posts, newspaper articles and emails tellingTime us how to -- this time-- for sure-- reach our goals for the new year.

  • Want to better balance work and home?

  • Want to exercise more?

  • Want to be more collaborative with peers?

  • Want to do a better job of delegating, and developing direct reports?

Do this. Try that. The "how-tos" are endless. And every suggestion is helpful in some way. To me, the challenge is not so much "what" to do to achieve the goals. It's how to keep doing whatever we decide to do. Do you agree?

You know the drill. You decide to exercise 30 minutes a day in your company's workout room starting Jan. 1. By Jan. 9, you're already overwhelmed with new tasks that piled up over the holidays. You feel like you don't have time to hit the gym that day.

This is a crucial moment. As you sit at your desk, deciding whether to:

(1.) get up and go workout over your lunch hour or

(2.) work through lunch at your desk,

you're determining -- in that moment-- the success of your long-term exercise goal. Right then and there. Successfully making changes that we care deeply about, personally or professionally, is about minute-by-minute choices, made consistently.

Lao Tzu, father of Taoism, said, "Time is a created thing. To say "I don't have time" is to say, "I don't want to." Sounds harsh doesn't it? And yet, deep down, if we're honest with ourselves, we know it's true. Each of us has the choice as to how we spend our time. This is not to say finding the time is easy. It may require sacrifice. It means being authentic. Yet, if we can carve out only fifteen minutes a day to exercise, or coach a direct report, or collaborate with a peer, that's 91 hours over the course of a year. 99 hours!

AA-type programs recognize that we "change one day at a time in a row." To go cold turkey and say "never" and "always" is just too darn hard. But today? Anyone can do today. One day at a time -- consistency-- is gentle enough to not set off the "big change coming" alarms but it does move us into action. We're doing it -- today. And we'll worry about signing on again tomorrow, when tomorrow become today. 

What do you think? What role do choices and consistency play in the leadership goals you've set for yourself this year?

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Comments

I found it very interesting that this topic is something I have been pondering the last few days, and then I read your post. Maybe it is a seasonal thing, or a coincidence, but I doubt it. As a child, time wasn't as big of deal as it is now because it seems like I knew exactly what I wanted to do. But as we grow older, and the number of options of how we can spend our time grows, we do have to make a choice. But we can't fabricate more time. It's impossible. We have 24 hours in a day and if were given 25 we would probably ask for 26. But we do carve out of our busy lives and schedules time for the people, places and things that we consider to be a priority.

- Todd Razor

Todd--it sounds like you can really relate to the concept of having to make choices about how you spend your moments because there never seems to be enough of them. But what about the idea of then having to be consistent? Is consistency more of a struggle for you today than it was in the past? Shirley

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