Life’s gotten truly, overwhelmingly interrupt driven. There are always a dozen P1 things-to-do that demand your attention and fill up all available time. We’re go-getters, ambitious and seek to maximize our potential and make the most of our time – all the time.
We end up ignoring the P2s and P3s too often – those “not critical now” priorities that then start to add up real quick and the quality of your life and living deteriorates. Those are often the little things that make life worth living.
Finding time to exercise is a big casualty. You have multiple meetings to attend, things to carry, errands to run that need the car, so the planned cycling-to-work gets pushed out one more day, and continues to – over months. Going running or to the gym takes even more commitment and often does not sustain beyond the first couple of enthusiastic days.
Then there’s all those relationships you need to invest into. Those are what will be with you long after the pain or the glory of success and your daily battles are long gone. The time you spend playing Scrabble, or a game of cards with your significant other and the kids. Or discussing nothing at all over coffee with a friend. Or that short vacation you should have taken a few months ago – sans the connected gadgets.
Reading books is another big one – whether it’s the dead-tree editions or digital ones. The sheer ‘opportunity cost’ and pending emails to respond to, spreadsheets to update and huge list of ideas to pursue ensures that reading is an early casualty of your battle-mode life. This is a major loss – reading both calms you, improves your attention span and expands your thinking. It’s a habit that’ll be a friend for a long long time.
There’s a gazillion other things – going to a movie with the gang, exploring a new restaurant in a new part of town without necessarily having read the reviews first, participating in the running of your apartment complex and even your local government – walking a dog – indeed, keeping one at home, starting those yoga lessons or breathing exercises you’ve been meaning to start as you get to the wrong side of 30, and so on and so forth.
There’s never enough time.
Just remember that in a decade or so, you’ll have lost the time to do a lot of this when you were younger. And all these lower priorities are what make your life so much richer and better, much more worth it. It’s not about a work-life balance, it’s about having a life altogether, or not.
Seriously, try doing at least one less-useful thing everyday.