Before leaving for a convention in Vancouver, I once asked one of my team member what she would like me to get for her as a gift. She said, “Anything that is uniquely Canada!”
Now, wouldn’t that be a difficult thing to find, let alone to bring home!
Of course when we are visiting a country, we are interested in things that are unique to the country, and not things that can be found anywhere else. That is why you’re looking for a parisian bistro instead of a McDonald’s when you’re in Paris, and for an italian coffeehouse instead of a Starbucks when you’re in Rome.
The same principle can be applied in managing time. To optimize time, we need to focus on what we can do while we are in a certain place that cannot be done in other places.
While we are at the office, during work hours, what are the things that we can do best there? For one, meeting and coordinating with our coworkers. That is why my boss, who is out of the office most of the time, usually calls for meetings when he is in.
Another one is accessing data that you need for the reports and plans that you are working on.
Those things will be difficult to do when you are somewhere else, or at times outside work hours.
While we are at home, what are the things that we can do best there? Resting, spending time with the family, doing your hobby.
In the age where a telephone can also function as a mini computer, it is sometimes difficult to focus.
Have you ever found yourself happily exchanging instant messages with your school friends, at work? Me, too. And that is supposed to be something that we do outside of work.
Have your significant other ever frowned on you for seeming more interested in discussing work with your colleagues over e-mail than in him or her who was there at the same time and place with you? Same here.
We can use our downtimes or less productive times for things like that. While sitting alone in the doctor’s waiting room, for example. Or standing in line at the movies.
To make a meaningful life, we need to make each moment meaningful. For that, we need to do what we can do best while we are at it, not while we are someplace else.
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