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Checkbook? Calendar? Where Do You Spend Your Resources?

I’ve often said that you can tell what’s important to somebody by looking at their checkbook.  If you open somebody’s debit/credit card statement you can tell where they spend their resources, time and money.  For example, if every day you stop at Starbucks and buy a $6 coffee, (and you do the math: times 5 days a week, times 4 weeks a month, times 12 months a year) that’s a lot of money that has been allocated to coffee.  While it may be a small portion of the total budget, it’s still a very substantial amount of money.  When we frame it that way, it’s often very revealing on what that person’s priorities are.  Apparently, they place a high value on easy, quick coffee.  It may be conscious/unconscious, rationalized or habitual, but ultimately, they buy it daily because it’s a priority for them. You can get a good glimpse into someone’s priorities by looking at their debit/credit card statement.

What if that same rule applied to our calendars?  What would it look like if our calendars were not just a record of everything we had intentionally scheduled, but also a record of everything we did?  In my personal calendar, I put in events, meetings, and things important to me that need to be done.  But there’s also filler, stuff that fills in the gaps on a regular basis: like answering emails, making phone calls, conversing with colleagues, making sales calls, or communicating with clients. There’s also stuff that’s very unproductive: not necessarily bad but distractions. So, what would it look like if our calendar recorded every, single thing we did daily?  Scheduled, filler, distraction, you name it?  Then, at the end of the month we could quantify, just like our debit card statement, to the minute where we’re allocating our resources.  We would see what’s important to us.  How many times did I check Facebook, emails, or voice mails?  How often did I pause and slow down to take a deep breath?  Did I rest?  How frequently did I notice the needs of someone else?  What would it look like if we had a record of everything we did that day?  It would become clear what things are time wasters.  What tasks are important to me and those that aren’t.  It might help us reevaluate our time and priorities.

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