Back from the bush

So how long is 12 weeks?

It has been 15 weeks since our last newsletter was published. For 12 of those weeks, we’ve been on a camping/caravanning tour of Northern Queensland. During this trip, as in previous trips, our experience of time changed dramatically.

Time stretches…

Getting up with the sun (and going to bed soon after); lazy evenings by the camp fire waiting for the bread to bake in the camp oven; bird watching beside the tropical lake outside the campervan door; reading in the sun.

For us, time stretched. New sights, new experiences, new people, no deadlines, no itinerary. After two weeks, we felt we’d been gone a month, and were already having trouble with what day it was.

Time flies…

That’s not always the case. In our modern world, time can fly by. How often do we say this – “I turned around, and another month was gone.”

If this is enjoyable time – great. If it includes doing the things you love with the people you love – wonderful. But what if you’re loosing time?

Are you DOING time?

It’s easy to end up DOING time – letting the week fill up with obligations, urgent tasks, things that matter to others, delaying what you want until “later”. If you can’t imagine taking ONE week off, let alone twelve, you may be doing time.

One year to live…

Many different books have a variation of this exercise (probably because it’s useful).

If you had one year to live and didn’t have to worry about money, would you still be doing what you’re doing now? What would you stop doing? What would you start doing? What would you do more of? What would you do less of?

This exercise is particularly poignant to me, with two friends in their forties who have survived cancer, one who didn’t and an older relation who waited for retirement to do what he wanted, but then died within two years.

What if it was YOUR turn – now?

If most of what you’re currently doing wouldn’t be important, then perhaps it’s time to reweight your portfolio. Waiting for it to be “my turn” is waiting for something the rest of the world will never get around to.

Barbara Sher’s book “It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now” is great further reading in this area.

(Originally published in BCS Update, August 2004)

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About Leigh

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Leigh is the principal of the business innovation practice Balance3 and her clients have included corporations such as Amcor, National Foods, Dair, SPC Ardmona, Kobelco, Corporate Express and New Balance as well as a range of smaller businesses and individual clients.