If you had limited time…

April 4, 2009

If you had limited time to live, what would you spend your life doing? I asked my colleagues recently while conducting a workshop on Attitudes at Work. Colleagues spent a few minutes to think and write what they would like to do. As they shared, we found ‘family’ emerged as the top priority. Things people would like to do for their children, spouse and parents. Then, there were plans like spending time with friends, in prayer, going on a vacation or fulfilling any other childhood dream. An interesting observation came from one colleageue who said, “it is surprising I spend so much time at work but work did not emerge at all in my thinking. All I could think of were things I wanted to do for family”. An important point made here that needs some introspection.

We have responsbility towards work as well as family. We often neglect one over the other. We may be an achiever, a reputed professional but if we are neglecting family then it is not right. Time flies very fast. Our parents and children are not going to stay with us forever. Friends will also move on. So, it is important not to delay execution of our plans for them. Very often, these are small acts like making a phone call to parents, spending time with parents/friends, fulfilling promises made to children etc. Doing them does not take much time and resources. It is better to execute such plans right away. Equally imporant issue is to ponder if family is consuming most of our time and work is neglected. We need to maintain the balance between work and family responsibilities.

 …If you had limited time… was only to trigger thinking. The fact is that we actually have limited time to do things for family, for friends and at our workplace. We need to develop Just do it – NOW attitude- never postpone things to tomorrow which could be done today. Not a new concept. We all know it but only some of us implement it. Those who do see the benefit. We need to practice it. I asked colleagues to write only three things that they would like to do to start on Just do it-now attitude. It has been a bit over two weeks since the workshop. Some colleagues shared with me that they implemented their plans and felt ‘good’.

… We all can write three things that we would like to do if we had limited time. Then, go ahead and do them right away because we actually have limited time. Three small steps: doable things in a stipulated time – will help us develop this attitude.