My Recovery From Workaholism Week #12: Schedule More “Meanings”

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It’s “When Is The Day?” Wednesday.

This week, I’m curious to know “How do you prioritize the people who are important to you?”

Someone shared a video that warmed my heart. It was a father, taking his 5-year-old duaghter out on a date. He got dressed in a suit, said he was nervous, walked out of the front door, closed the door, and then turned around and rang the doorbell. Moments later, his little girl in a pink dress answered with a big smile and they went on a date.

Too often, we give the people we love our leftovers…leftover time…leftover energy. Our jobs get the best of us during the day and then our families get the rest of us.

His gesture was different than saying “Honey, I’m home. Do you want to go to the park and grab some pizza?” The date had a pick-up time that I’m sure he wouldn’t have missed for the world. He was intentional about creating this space in time with his daughter.

As a workaholic, I’m guilty of it, but I’m doing better. We say we are working so hard to provide for our family—our significant other, kids, and sometimes parent—but work is the exact thing that is taking us away from them in the present moment. It feels like a catch 22.

As I’ve been doing this 30 day experiment around my time management process with a group of readers, I realized something. If we schedule meetings, which are oftentimes unimportant, why don’t we schedule the things that are meaningful to us.

I’ve been calling those people and things “meanings” instead of meetings.

It may sound silly to put…
…cuddle time with your partner
…or basketball with the homies
…or dinner with your parents
…or call mom…
…in your Outlook calendar.

People don’t want to feel like a slot in our schedules. But with the assault on our time by competing priorities, we have to be protective of our most precious asset—our time.We track our money through our bank account and budgets, but we don’t track, literally, the most valuable thing we have. Money comes and goes. Time just goes and never comes back.

About 3 times a week, my wife and I have a “meaning” at 7:30pm. We either meditate, read a spiritual text, take an “affirmation walk” together, or just have couch time. It’s in both of our calendars just like the other meetings that we both have for our businesses througout the week.

It’s anchored in time. It doesn’t just happen if we happen to both be home. It’s something we look forward to and make sure that we are home for. Just to give another example, one of my readers, Stephen M., has a short “meaning” every morning with his kids for floor time with them because he gets home late.

Parkinson’s Law suggest that work expands to fill space and time. If I give you 60 minutes to do a tasks that really only takes 30 minutes, you’ll take 60 minutes to do it. Whereas if I give you the same task, but only 30 minutes, you’ll complete it in 30 minutes without compromising the quality.

Work does that when we don’t put boundaries on it. It spills into other domains of our life after 5pm and on weekends, negatively affecting our personal relationships and ability to live in alignment with our values.

We all need to schedule more “meanings” in our lives.

I’m interested to know what kinds of “meanings” you will create in your life? Comment here or email me. Your comments will inspire me and others.

Thanks for listening & wishing you more happy hours,