Gift of Time

Have you ever found yourself saying,

Drat – this thing is due in a week/day/hour. If I only had another week/day/hour.

Think about it: If you had just one more week/day/hour, oh man, it’d be heaven! You don’t have a lot of time left (whatever the reason, you’ve accepted your current circumstances and are moving forward), and you’re anxious, and having that extra time would seem like… a gift. Oh, if you only had that extra time…

OK, but let’s say you’re not at this late stage; you are in the middle of something with a deadline. Try this:

Give yourself an artificial deadline to give yourself the gift of time.

If it is due in two weeks, get it done in one. I feel this helps with those prone to procrastinating.

Just feel it, though… put yourself there… you bust out whatever you can in one week, and at the end of that week, you take a step back, look it over, and you know what? It just actually might be good enough! If not, oh look, you have another week at your disposal.

In ‘The 4-Hour Workweek’ by Tim Ferriss, he talks about Parkinson’s Law, which goes, “a task will swell in perceived importance and complexity in relation to time allotted for its completion”, to which he recommends setting artificially short and clear deadlines.

The trick is now to motivate yourself to accept this new shorter deadline.

Bow Ties and Shoelaces

Time for a new identity!

Or not.

Maybe you just came out of a relationship. (You cut your hair / sport a goatee / get your ear pierced.) Maybe you moved town. (You look for a new set of friends.) Maybe you’re digging deeper into or taking on a new hobby. (You try on a relevant persona.) Maybe I found my voice and direction in life. (I buy bow ties and shoelaces.)

It’s funny how it happens. I’ve heard it said, and I’m sure you’ve experienced it: there is an inner change that is reflected externally. What appeals to you evolves and you take on new things that make you say, “This isn’t something I would normally do! This isn’t me!” And yet, here I am, buying bow ties, an article of clothing I have not worn since performing at piano recitals as a kid. And yet, here I am, buying shoelaces, because, well, I’m suddenly inclined to wear bright colored laces with darker shoes. (If this becomes a thing, you read it here, first!) Both these inspired and fun style changes are happening right after finding my life vector.

Tell me I’m not the only one experiencing this.

Death and The Night

So… how about this: let’s die well.

When we die, let’s do that whole death thing with a sense of peace, however & whenever that ends up happening. It’s gonna happen, and when it does, when you’re right up against that point, there’s stuff that’ll go through your head. What do you want to be thinking? As I’ve shared a week ago, I like the idea of lying on my death bed and knowing I’ve given my greatest gift.

Besides living each day as if it were your last, or as if you’re already dead, to get the most out of life… death seems pretty far away. So is that feeling of impending end as a motivator for giving your greatest gift. So let’s scale down both the severity of death and how far it is in the future – let’s call this the night. Let’s re-do the previous paragraph, replacing ‘death’ with ‘sleep’.

When we sleep, let’s do that whole sleep thing with a sense of peace, however & whenever that ends up happening. It’s gonna happen, and when it does, when you’re up against that point, there’s stuff that’ll go through your head. What do you want to be thinking? As I’ve shared a week ago, I like the idea of lying on my sleep bed and knowing I’ve given my greatest gift.

Now, Steve Pavlina on his blog has a great post that covers one way to simulate the death bed scene, except with way less drama, ’cause I’m in my Stewie-from-Family-Guy PJ’s. The following, lifted from his article on The Power of Clarity, is what I keep in mind as I go about my day. Give it a shot.

I was once told by someone that I should end each day by crossing it off my calendar and saying out loud, “There goes another day of my life, never to return again.” Try this for yourself, and notice how much it sharpens your focus. When you end a day with the feeling that you would have lived it the same if you had the chance to repeat it, you gain a sense of gratitude that helps you focus on what’s really important to you. When you end the day with a feeling of regret or loss, you gain the awareness to try a different approach the next day.

Create & Connect, Supply & Demand

I just finished writing up my notes from ‘The $100 Startup’ by Chris Guillebeau. One of the points he stresses is the sequence of creating something of value, followed by connecting with people to share it.

The thing of value is something in which you are skilled, or is fully engaging, or elicits your passion, or is a combination of the three (ideally, no?). The connecting is sharing, or teaching, or somehow helping others, specifically helping others feel better (or less worse, he actually goes into this a little bit). And yes, this thing you’re sharing should also be what some others would want – go find your target market (…he later goes into it not mattering how many people don’t get it, but how many people do…).

This reframing of ‘Supply & Demand’ I find more… welcoming. Can you feel the humanity? You are no longer in a flea market.

Party A: Cool-looking old books, here! Man, do these suckers smell great, and they look damn vintage, too. You don’t even have to flipping read them – impress your friends when they check out your mantle!

Party B: Why, hello there, good sir! I was just passing through and recalled that my bookshelves do seem a little peckish. I will have five. And here, take some Shillings. There. Good day to you.

To ‘Create & Connect’ connotes effort and is more personal. Somebody created this thing. Somebody put time and energy and focus into making this thing, and now that somebody – me – I’ve manifested something that once wasn’t, and I want to make a connection with you. That’s right – I’m looking you in the eye – hey there – shake my hand. (Let’s bond over the possible commonality that is this thing I’ve created and you’re buying. Have you seen my mantle?)

Yes, ‘Supply & Demand’ allows for much easier plotting of curves on 2-D graphs, but ‘Create & Connect’ adds a human factor to the concept of exchanging value. You might make a friend. Hell, maybe a fan.

Legacy

Lately, my focus has been on setting the Product Owner piece of my own ScrumOfOne, and one fun way to think about my vision is as if it were my legacy.

Merrill B. Lamont III
1982 – 2084
Here lies awesomeness manifest. Did you know he discovered Lamontanium? Oh yeah. That was this guy. You’re so reading his tombstone right now, you lucky person, you. (Go ahead. It’s OK. Touch it.)

This of course appeals to the bio part of my biomedical engineering background; children are genetic legacy, no? It makes a little more sense when thought about memeticly.

Great artists are remembered for their art. Great scientists are remembered for their discoveries & inventions. Great sharks are remembered for their catchy John Williams themes. Great businessfolks are remembered for their comb overs, or because their name is on something/everything.

All this requires taking something to a state of mastery, moving beyond good to great. Geez, so how does that happen? In a way, we re-derive spending more and more time on fewer and fewer things. Fine, so how do I decide which things? Evidently there are a number of ways, but however that vision pans out, it could well be my legacy.

Have fun with this: What’s your legacy?