“Seize the Day! – a moto for overly busy executives!”
In 1989 I watched the film “Dead Poets Society” starring Robin Williams and my life was never the same again. That may seem a little over the top but there are just a handful of really good films that have left a lifelong impression on me and this is in the top three next to Star Wars IV and Terminator. It was in this movie that I first heard the phrase ‘Carpe Diem – seize the day’ and have probably watched this movie a dozen or more times over the years.
I have spent my working years in management positions from 21 years old and have struggled with how to make the best use of the time in a day. I have tried every seminar, planning tools, calendars and more recently apps on my phone, computer and tablet to squeeze every second out of the day in a vain effort to ‘Seize the Day’. It continued elude me how others could accomplish so much more in 24 hours and their secret kept eluding me.
It finally came to me that in all my busyness trying to keep up I had forgotten the basic principles of planning. The following is a quick checklist that helped me to make sense of how to best use the time I have in a day.
1) Prioritize – what will bring the highest reward
2) Plan your time – or it will be planned for you
3) File for the future – out of sight, out of mine, easy to find
4) Learn to say NO – or lose control of your day forever
5) Delegate – with wisdom and accountability
6) Eliminate – Decide what to do – Do it without delay – Decide what not to do – Don’t do it without feeling guilty
7) Simplify – confusion, disorganization and complexity increases stress unnecessarily
8) Steal 1 hour per day – start an hour earlier before the others and you will be able to finish earlier with more accomplished
In my career I have worked in many different fields and the years I spent as the director of addiction treatment programs introduced me to the Serenity Prayer. I came across a variation on this prayer that is perfect for busy executives…
“God grant me the serenity to prioritize the things I cannot delegate, the courage to say NO when I need to, and the wisdom to know when to GO home.”
With that in mine give yourself a break today from busyness and begin to truly seize the day based on what is really important to move forward your goals both personal and business. Go Seize the Day!