In my corporate career, time was my most scarce resource. I would fill my days with meetings to make sure I was using every drop. This became my normal way of life. I didn’t question it, this was just how things were. In fact, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. There was so much to do.
Working at my best
I was very busy. These days I judge my effectiveness on other criteria, especially ‘Am I at my best?’ Working with a client this week reminded me of how packed my days used to be. She told me about days where her schedule was back to back with meetings. Her biggest challenge was getting a break to take her dog out for a potty break. It didn’t occur to her that she might need a break.
It is easy to ridicule this person for being so crazy and yet, I bet we are all like this from time to time. I know I am and used to be very often. And I know I was not working at my best. I didn’t see it then, I was too far down the rabbit hole. I do now.
Reserving time for ourselves
So what can we do about this? The answer is simple and yet difficult (like most valuable things). We simply have to block time on our calendar to give ourselves a break. It is difficult because we have to say no to ourselves and others. To ourselves for wanting to do more. To others when they want time we don’t have available. I reserve a minimum of 30 minutes between coaching sessions. If I didn’t, I couldn’t be at my best for the next client. I am reserving my Friday afternoon’s for whatever I want to work on (or not). Sometimes I have to give it up, but it doesn’t happen without a fight.
Are you working at your best or are you just working? If the latter, do those around you deserve your best self? If yes, then you will have to say no to them from time to time. And what do you deserve for yourself?