October 28, 2010 4 Comments
H.H “Breaker “Morant (1864-1902) is credited with having said “Live every day as if it was your last, because one day you will be right.”
He was spot-on as on February 27, 1902, at the age of 38, he was executed after conviction for murder during the Second Boer War (1899-1902). He became an Australian folk hero (despite the fact that he was actually English), with a major movie about him having been made in 1980 and which is still considered a classic today.
I am sure however that his notoriety is not based on his advice on time management.
There is no question that his advice is sound, it’s just very hard for people to live their lives as though they really did believe that their life span was seriously limited without actually casting a dark veil over their existence. In actual fact we all tend to live a large part of our lives as though we were indestructible, which does help to explain the kamikaze style of driving one finds in most of Europe.
I believe that the more realistic advice is to live every day as if it was in the last week before going on holidays.
I am always amazed at how much can be achieved in just one week as people focus on finishing off all the things that have lain dormant on their to-do lists for months, just before they set off for their annual 4-6 weeks break (usually starting in August here).
For some, they could actually achieve most of their annual goals by coming in to work just for the latter part of the month of July.
I believe that this is driven mainly by the fact that most people seem to feel that they will not be able to relax completely on vacation if they still have items that have not been crossed off their list of outstanding tasks. The fear that somehow this list will then rob them of sleep with nightmares of things like business plans not written and performance reviews delayed.
Even more compelling seems to be the fear that coming back to all these, now even more delayed, tasks will mean that they will be already behind their work schedule on the first day that they come back from vacations, rather than allowing themselves to just get more and more behind over time as a natural part of their working life.
There seems to be a visible build-up both at work and at home, of making sure that that the time to vacation departure exhibits better planning, better focus, and significantly better use of time available to finish off outstanding tasks.
Imagine the amazing increases in productivity that could be gained if everyone worked like this every single week of the year.
I am therefore of the opinion that companies would be better served if instead of allowing a single 6 week vacation break, they forced their staff to actually take three lots of 2 weeks annual leave spread across the year, as at least that way they could guarantee at least 3 weeks of focussed activities per year rather than just the one.