Let’s Talk About “Protection”

By: Joel Cochran

Bill: “Hey Bob, how is your day going?”
Bob: “Hey Bill, it’s busy but good! How is your day?
Bill: “Busy as well, but I can’t complain.”
Bob: “That’s good to hear”…. Well it was good catching up with you but I gotta go, I have an appointment I have to run too.”
Bill: “Yeah me too, we’ll catch up later.”
Bob: “Sounds good! Have a great day!”
Bill: “You too!”

Does the conversation above sound a little too familiar to you? You are rushing through your day and you happen to run into a colleague or a friend and you start thinking to yourself, “I don’t really have time for this, but I guess I should say Hello”. Then you proceed to go through all the surface questions being careful not to ask anything deeper because it could result in more time in conversation which doesn’t really fit in your “busy” day.  

“Busy” is a word that is thrown around in our culture as not only a badge of honor but also an excuse of why we can’t catch up with an old friend, spend time with our family or get into the gym. Dean Schabner of ABC News wrote an article titled Americans Work More Than Anyone in which he says:

“Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. More than the English, more than the French, way more than the Germans or Norwegians. Even, recently, more than the Japanese. And Americans take less vacation, work longer days, and retire later too.”

This information is disappointing but are you surprised? We spend more time striving for the “American Dream” and less time actually living it. What does it matter if you have a white picket fence if you don’t have time to sit out on the porch to enjoy it?

Along with losing time, we are also losing our health. In a new report about American health Dr. Steven Woolf states that “People with seemingly everything going for them still live shorter lives and have higher disease rates than people in other countries,” and why do you think that we have a higher disease rate than everyone else? It’s because we eat more than anyone else “Americans consume nearly 4,000 calories a day on average — more than anyone else in the world.” Woolf said.  

So we work to the point of being too busy, which keeps us from spending time with the people and things we love, so we end up running to food and alcohol to relieve our stress which only makes things worse. Is this ringing a bell for anyone??

Not to worry, there is a solution. It’s called protection! Yes, kind of like that thing you used before you had kids but for everything else in life. We have to protect our time which was highlighted in Derek’s Blog GSD (Get Stuff Done) in which he states that “Time is the most valuable asset we have”. There is only so much time in a given day, that we have to make conscious decisions to protect the time that is most meaningful to us.  

The first step is protecting your schedule. Your schedule is your greatest defense from overworking yourself and sucking your daily time. You have to protect times throughout your day that will keep you on track to accomplishing the things that truly matter to you. Want to workout everyday? Spend time with your children? Catch up with your best friend? Put it on your schedule and don’t allow anything to break that time.  

If you died tomorrow and a stranger took a look at your weekly schedule, would they be able to tell what type of person you are? Treat your schedule as a testament to the person you are and want to be by protecting your time for the things that mean most to you.

The second step to protection is learning to say “No”. You have heard that word before, right?  We too often say yes to things we know we shouldn’t have which ends up overbooking our schedule and leaving us exhausted by the end of the day. Learn to say no to your boss, friends, coworkers, clients and even your family if you know that it’s going to be too much or keeps you from your protected time.

We never know when our time is going to be up and we can’t wait for tomorrow. If you are looking to live your best life now you will need to get away from busy and learn to wrap it up… your schedule that is.  

The next time you say “busy” I want you to think of the acronym Buried-Under-Stresses-Yoke.  This may help you to realize that always being busy is not a badge of honor but a one way ticket to diminishing relationships, increasing stress and decreasing our health. So what are you waiting for? Time to get busy!