What will you do with your one wild and precious life?
What will you do with the time you take up and the space you occupy?
Statistically, Americans have 27,795 days in which to fill their lives with meaning. My brother, just over 50, had been given just 18,443 when he died on December 23, 2022. Those 18,443 days—the majority filled battling a succession of illnesses—were extraordinarily well lived and caring for him in his final days has focused my thoughts on the limits of time. Time is a nonrenewable resource. It is finite. We cannot make more time. How will you use your time?
Time to Live
After nearly doubling life expectancy over the last century, we’ve seen a decline in the last few years. Last year, we returned to the life expectancy we had in 1996, losing 1,037 days of progress in expanding longevity. The experience of caring for my brother and the decline in life expectancy, in concert with the work I do as a keynote speaker on the future of work, focused my thoughts on time’s finiteness in both life and work. We act like our money is finite and our time is infinite, when it’s the inverse that’s true. No one knows their expiration date. The adage that you should live every day as if it’s your last, and sooner or later you’ll be right, is apt. As I watched the last grains of sand drop in my brother’s hourglass and lost all sense of workday vs. weekend in the 1,000-plus days of the global pandemic, I thought about the preciousness of our time, my time, your time.
Time to Work
The average American works roughly 90,000 hours, or 3,750 days, of their life. How are you spending your 3,750 days? In his blog post 100 Blocks a Day, Tim Urban calculated that in a 24-hour day, most of us sleep 7–8 hours, leaving 16–17 hours, or 1,000 minutes, and he pointed out that those 1,000 minutes can be broken down into one hundred 10-minute blocks. For some of us, breaking down the enormity of our lives into a series of 10-minute commitments is an easy way to consider mindful management of our precious time—each a block to be traded.
Desire to Have Control Over Our Time
I think that may be just what’s at the heart of the friction among leaders, managers, and talent regarding where we work. I don’t think it’s about place. It’s not about the office or the home. It’s about our time and how we spend it. How many of our one hundred daily blocks are we willing to spend commuting or doing unnecessary tasks to feed presenteeism? For example a recent study found that people are spending 67 minutes a day sending unnecessary emails to prove they’re working, these efforts are referred to as digital presenteeism . That is nearly seven wasted blocks a day and more when you consider those emails require responses—the waste multiplies. Are we willing to create a daily practice of commuting to an office to Zoom our teams or colleagues in other locations and no longer be able to check in on our parents or kids or walk our dogs or move our laundry? If we’re disabled or otherwise find travel a challenge, will we even consider jobs that require navigating this friction, or will we seek jobs that will accommodate better uses of our time? Quiet quitting and a broader rejection of hustle culture suggest that the past three years reordered many people’s priorities. Remote or hybrid work is just one question presented by an examination of time. [For some thoughtful research into managing remote and hybrid work, I suggest Lynda Gratton’s work here as well as work by Stanford’s Nick Bloom on the impact of remote work before and through the pandemic]
We once had agency over only our personal lives. But during the pandemic as we merged our personal and professional lives, we experienced having agency to decide when, where, and how we work. It may be hard to put that toothpaste back in the tube, even if an economic recession swings the power pendulum back toward employers.
[Note: Yes, we’ll still have a vibrant entrepreneurial culture with a very real startup hustle culture, but for whom you’re hustling matters. As Chris Shipley said, “Entrepreneurial hustle is about finding the next opportunity, customer, pivot, investment and doing all you can to make your business work. In startup land, because the result of hustle is self-reward, it has a different connotation. Investors see entrepreneurial hustle as a sign of commitment to business outcomes. Other entrepreneurs see entrepreneurial hustle as a sign of persistence, passion, and sometimes even inspiration. The difference, really, is who benefits from the hustle.” When it comes to leadership, hustle works when you’re building something that doesn’t exist and that has the potential for profound impact and financial reward (Tesla, Space X) but not when you’re running something that already exists (Twitter).]
Existential Crisis Sharpens the Focus on the Finiteness of Time
The pandemic flung us into an existential crisis, ready or not, requiring us to examine our mortality and face the fragility of life. People of every age died from COVID-19. Our best estimate is that nearly 7 million people globally and 1.1 million people in the United States died from it in the last three years. The impact of their loss extends to the generation they leave behind. Globally, 10.5 million children have been orphaned by it. In the United States, 220,000 children have been orphaned by it, with nearly 1 in 300 losing a primary caregiver. The loss is not evenly distributed. Minorities represent only 39% of the U.S. population but 65% of children orphaned. This next generation—and this is our next workforce—is forever changed by this experience. We may not be able to recover the lost human potential, but we should certainly try. Per the CDC, “[o]rphanhood increases the likelihood of poverty, abuse, delayed development, mental health challenges, reduced access to education, and institutionalization.” The time spent at home, the loss, the impact of the loss on the next generation have left us reordering our priorities and reexamining our relationship with time and how we spend it.
Permacrisis: It’s Your Time
The editors of the Collins English Dictionary declared “permacrisis,” defined as “an extended period of instability and insecurity,” the word of the year for 2022. From war to runaway inflation to pending economic recession to impacts of climate change to persistent labor shortages, there’s no dearth of concerns ahead. This extended state of chaos and uncertainty makes focusing on the preciousness of our finite time an imperative. I’ve recently begun ending my keynote talks by imploring my audiences to focus on the three things they can control, which I refer to as the fundamentals: time, trust, and capacity. Your time is your only nonrenewable resource; mindfully manage it. Call your mother, hug your kids, forgive, love, drop the regret and resentments, invest in yourself and your future potential. Only you can control your outlook. You are the most important stakeholder in your success. Only you can make your time as valuable as it can be. My brother met people without judgment and had little time for arguments. As he was ill most of his life, battling everything from cancer to heart disease to strokes, hope was his handrail to an uncertain future. He likely sensed that his time was limited. He will always be one of my most important teachers. Trust is the fundamental foundation of all our interactions and exchanges. People work for you or with you, vote for you, buy from you, and are friends with you because they trust you. Products and services are souvenirs of trust. In every interaction, you have an opportunity to build or burn trust. My advice: build whenever and wherever possible, because the short-term advantage of burning trust is rarely worth it. Your capacity is not your ability to do more or all, but rather your ability to meet the moment. Expanding and preserving your capacity (your wellness capacity, your curiosity capacity, your intellectual capacity) is your most precious investment—place those bets wisely.
It’s 2023, and it’s YOUR time.
How are you willing to spend your most precious resource?
Checkout latest world news below links :
World News || Latest News || U.S. News
The post It Is 2023 and It Is YOUR Time appeared first on WorldNewsEra.