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The Most Equally Distributed Resource in the World




I read one time (I wish I could remember whom to give credit to) that the hardest things to teach are the things that come naturally to you, because you don’t understand what everyone else doesn’t get. 😆


I have faithfully kept a planner every day of my life since 5th grade, not kidding.  I got it from my dad.  He is a very organized, detail-oriented, methodical person who manages his time well, and I guess he passed on that gene combination.


But, I struggled to teach and verbalize the concepts.


So, I decided to study time, priority, goal & energy management to enhance my own skills, and in hopes to be able to pass on some tips to others.


I read a quote two decades ago that I have held fast to:


“It is not that we have a short space of time, but that we waste much of it. Life is long enough, and it has been given in sufficiently generous measure to allow the accomplishment of the very greatest things, if the whole of it is well invested. But when it is squandered in luxury and carelessness, when it is devoted to no good end… we perceive that it has passed away before we were aware that it was passing. So it is—the life we receive is not short, but we make it so, nor do we have any lack of it, but are wasteful of it.” - Seneca (Roman philosopher)


All good things start with a correct mindset….


Step one: believe there is adequate time to live a meaningful and productive life, and enough provided to accomplish your goals and dreams.


Step two: reframe “spending time” to “investing time”.  When you spend, it’s gone.  When you invest, it multiplies.


Time is the most equally distributed resource in the world.  You could be young, old, smart, dumb, rich, poor, fat, skinny, yet we all take the same 24-hour spin around the earth’s axis.


So what really separates a successful life from a mediocre life?  Part of the answer is how that equally distributed resource is invested.


There are 168 hours in the week.  What do most people do with those hours?  Sleep, eat, shower, get dressed, personal care, exercise, meditate, pray, read, work, care for others, grocery shop, meal prep, family meals, clean, quality time with family/friends, romance, social life, watch TV, scroll on phone, manage email/texts, church, meetings/clubs, kid’s sports/activities.  Did I miss anything?


Most people can work a full time job + a side hustle or hobby, AND still do all the things I mentioned above, AND still have time left over.  Time-management challenges should probably called priority-management challenges.  We typically have enough time for what we value, but not enough clarity on our priorities.


I read an article years ago that studied how much time people watch TV.  The average American watches 21 hours of TV a week.  When you add social media consumption and mindless scrolling, that number is probably higher. Twenty-one hours is enough to generate a second income.  Or get in the best shape of your life.  Or learn a new skill.  Or volunteer.  Or go back to school.  Or travel more.  Or, or, or, or…


Yes, it is important to ask, “What am I doing with my time?”  Yet, possibly more important to ask, “What am I not doing because of what I am doing with my time?”  What dreams and goals are going unfulfilled because we are too busy being busy doing things that don’t matter that take away from things that do.


In her biography, Mary Kay Ash told a really great story about Ivy Lee, a leading efficiency expect.  He called Charles Schwab and told him he could increase Schwab’s company sales if he could meet with his executives for just 15 minutes.  “Pay me what you think it’s worth afterward”, is what he told Schwab.  Sales exponentially increased over the next few months, so Schwab sent him a check for $35,000, which would be more like $350,000 today.


What sage advice did Ivy Lee give to these executives?  He taught them to make a list of their top 6 priorities for the next day and identify what hour the tasks would be done.  They were to make this list every night for the following day. That was it.  He told them nothing more.  Don’t miss the profundity of his advice because it’s so simple.  That is the illusion of success - if it seems too simple, we often overlook it, because we think success ought to be more complex.  Surely time management and productivity and increased sales ought to involve more than making a list the night before?  Nope.


Even just one hour of planning saves you hours of execution.


I eventually developed my own personal planner because I wanted all the time management concepts and goal setting tools in one place.  I call it my Brain Book.  I could not run my life without it.  If you’re in the market for a new planner, check it out at: https://leahlauchlan.com/the-brain-book-by-leah/ (password for access is grateful)


In all things, whether time management or parenting or careers or relationships or anything else under the sun, it is important to remember, that it’s all hard.  Every set of life circumstances and choices come with their own set of hard.  We all just get to choose which set of “hard” we prefer.


It’s hard to be disciplined with your time, and it’s also hard to waste time & feel like life is passing you by.

It’s hard to stay on top of your life, but it’s also hard to lose control of your life.

It’s hard to get up early, and it’s hard to lose precious hours of your day.

It’s hard to show up to the gym, and it’s hard to be sedentary and lethargic.

It’s hard to eat clean foods, and it’s hard to have no energy and poor health.

It’s hard to count carbs/macros, and it’s hard to not fit in your clothes or feel comfortable in your own skin.

Hard to say no to sugar and alcohol, and it’s hard to have a foggy brain that doesn’t function well.


Once we see that it’s all hard (and beautiful too; we can’t miss the beauty in all of it), and the grass is not greener in the other side, we have greater clarity to choose wisely and design a life worth living.


Here’s to your best life, starting today.


Blessings,

Leah

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I love that you shared this time that your dad gifted you your first planner and that this is something that is part of your DNA.

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And the podcast with Dr. Peter Attia is a nice starter too. (The Drive: Optimizing life for maximum fulfillment | Bill Perkins, january 9, 2023)

Are you a Peter Attia fan? I'm not 100% but I do like his take on Medicine 2.0 vs Medicine 3.0. Interesting points.

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I love this sooo much!! Thank you, Leah!!!

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