If you show me your checkbook and your daily calendar, I’ll show you your priorities.
This basic truth is difficult (not hard) for many well-meaning people to accept, which is why time management, productivity, “hacking,” and other terms have come into the Internet lexicon over the last few years.
In the workplace, the industrialists’ idea of greater and greater productivity being encouraged through the adoption and integration of labor saving/time shaving devices and machines, has led to a revolution, going on since the 1970’s at least, where the work people used to do is now being done by machines—whether they be hardware or software.
But the rub is that all those employees still feel squeezed for time. Squeezed even as work and life more and more overlap and intrude upon each other. Squeezed even as the current generations in the workplace demand more meaning and mattering in even the performance of menial labor. Squeezed even as the new, post-modern, post-industrialist creators, digital geniuses, and the financial manipulators seem to accrue more wealth, while those who didn’t get in on the ground floor, seem to accrue fewer and fewer rewards.
If you show me your checkbook and your daily calendar, I’ll show you what areas of your life get the most of your attention.
We can do very little about the creators, the digital geniuses, or the financial manipulators, but we can do something about the areas that are near to us. Our checkbooks reveal the stories we tell ourselves about our money. Our calendars reveal the stories we tell ourselves about our time. Because, while we may not all have the wealth of Warren Buffet, we all still have the same number of hours in the day that he does.
And this is where the friction—the intrapersonal conflicts—really lie: Many of us believe the story that the industrialists of the last century told us repeatedly about our money, and our time. The story is that time = money and if you’re not working to get paid, and if you’re not productive in the way that they want you to be productive, then your priorities are skewed. And whatever time you have leftover in the day is a gift from them.
The labor movement fought against this thinking, leading to the creation of unions.Unions effectively used the language of rebellion, and changed the language of priorities, in favor of those who were working. But now, in the face of a post-industrialist economy, individuals making their own priorities paramount matters more than either the story on life support of the industrialists or the clever linguistic jiujitsu of the union representatives.
If you show me your checkbook and your daily calendar, I’ll show you what’s on your personal, interior billboard.
- What are your priorities?
- What does your checkbook reveal about where you spend your money?
- What does your calendar reveal about how you divide up the same number of hours in the day that Warren Buffet, or Mark Zuckerberg, or the guy down the street, has?
- What do you—as an individual—really value?
Answering those questions honestly, and with penetrating self-awareness, will begin the process of getting more out of your life—and the choices you are choosing to make—than any time management article possible could.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org