Monday, November 3, 2008

Time Management - Can You Achieve Work/Life Balance?

I sat in a convention a couple of years ago and watched a gray haired man with thin rimmed glasses, a bright yellow Hawaiian shirt with red flowers and a bright green blazer nearing his eighties jump in front of the room and claim that every morning by 10AM, that he had done more in his business and made his family smile more than most of us in the room would accomplish by 6PM. I remember sitting there mesmerized by his energy and drive, and determination. He had reached success and fortune a million times over and had no sights of letting up on his life's work and unlike some other rich and successful men and women I have met, was still full of life and genuinely happy.

My grandmother calls me sometimes during the day knowing that I'll be immersed in my work and say, "There are 24 hours in a day, Dori. Eight for sleeping, eight for working, eight for friends and family..."

Bob reiterated those sentiments at that convention when he started talking about the key to his success. It wasn't a genius marketing idea or the best computer software program, it wasn't flashy brochures or business cards or the best graphic designs... it was his daily schedule.

Every night before he went to bed he would detail the following day first broken down into six hour increments and then to three, then to two, then to one hour and then into fifteen minute blocks. His jolly face looked up at us in the room so quiet that you could hear a pin drop! And then it lit up unexpectedly with his jolly laughter as he tauntingly said "first my dears, start with the SIX HOUR BLOCKS!"

We all giggled and listened as he explained how managing a detailed schedule and following it created a life of balance and expectations for both his business and his family. When he was working, he was working and wasn't feeling guilty about not being with his family and when he was with his family, he wasn't worried about work. There was a time for everything and everything had it's time.

He then detailed every hour for us to try to explain how much time we truly have each day. He described his first 6 hour block of time beginning at 6AM with his morning routine, how he first takes time for himself every morning - for his body and mind.

How often we go through the day neglecting how important the health of our body and minds are!

His hour on the treadmill while he listened to his favorite classical melodies or read a favorite book; the luxurious shower and the joy he took making his children breakfast in the morning and hearing about the schedule of their lives each morning!

The next four hours until lunch were impeccably detailed: calls, meetings, reports, call and wish the wife a good morning and wonderful day! Imagine scheduling daily calls to tell someone you love them! What could possibly be a better use of your time!?

I remember sitting there as he painted a ticking clock portrait of his day and how each task brought him closer to that final "tock" at 6PM where he shifted from work to home and family and friends!


If that wasn't impressive enough, there was a detailed weekly account of chores and shopping, family activities, dates with friends and extended family... Every aspect of his life, business and family was given importance.

He had a lifetime of joy because he gave everything and everyone the importance of his time. His wife and children expected him to be working when he was at work and home when he was at home.

In building his business of course there were disappointments and not everything always went as planned but there WAS A PLAN!

I know that in my perfect fantasy world, there is this magical place where my business and personal life somehow create a wonderful balance.

Could we all find this mystical place and that infectious joy I witnessed in that man by merely planning out the details of each of our days? Planning the time for our walks to the park with our favorite four-legged friend, making lunch dates with our children once a week at their schools, a date with our spouse where we dress up in our "first date finest" and anticipate that long kiss at the end of the night - all while climbing that business ladder of success??

I hope you take out that day planner - seriously I know everyone has one that's collecting dust somewhere - and
"first my dears, start with the SIX HOUR BLOCKS!"