Out of time

I just went to the hospital to visit some close friends whose baby will likely be born by the time this blog is posted.  It is five days before the due date, and when I asked how things were going my friend said, “It’s going great, but it’s been kind of sudden.”

Because I was going to meet him after work, rather than heading home, I didn’t rush out of work in the way I normally do. Normally, my time is ruled by the strict deadline of the train I catch every day.  Without the deadline, I “just finished up a few things,” and I left work 45 minutes later than I’d planned.

We fill the time we give ourselves.  And nearly always it feels like the deadline sneaks up on us – even if we’ve been preparing for nine months.

It’s easy to scoff at the idea of holding 5 minute meetings without any chairs in the room, using an egg timer; or doing speed interviews of 20 job applicants in an hour rather than screening a zillion resumes and interviewing 3 people for an hour each.  But until you’ve tried it, do you know which works better?

I’m not saying rush through everything.  I’m saying time is precious and we have the opportunity to be deliberate about how we spend it.   So you get to choose.  Do you:

  1. Decide in advance how much time something really needs to accomplish your goal, and stick to it?
  2. Do things the way everyone else does them, because it’s so uncomfortable to explain why you do things differently?

(and by the way, just because Outlook defaults to a certain length of meeting doesn’t mean that’s how you should schedule your day).

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