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.



  1. martin metcalf says:

    Hi Les,
    Readers of your previous time management blogs would already be ahead of the game as they would have learnt that most pending in box items are not the things to focus on. Going on holiday following previous LH Blog learning should be a stressless activity. The concept of 3, two week vacations in the US would be tough as they only take 2 weeks a year, allegedly. Also the driving skills of most American drivers is lower, in my experience, than Europe. They all have a mobile phone super glued to their hand which in turn is glued to their ear. Negotiating a tight turn in a 4 tonne Ford F350 truck with one hand whilst chatting to the kids on their phone, beggars belief. Rant over. Europe, you’ve never had it so good.

  2. leshayman says:

    Hi Martin,
    I’m glad that you believe that people actually follow my advice on time management … I have had a few people tell me that they would read these TM posts if they weren’t so busy. 🙂
    When it comes to American drivers, you need to read P.J. O’Rourke on driving, particularly his piece titled …
    “How To Drive Fast On Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed And Not Spill Your Drink”.

  3. Enrico Negroni says:

    Hi Les,

    great idea to improve productivity !!!

    Regarding drivers…I’ve enough experiencing the ones in Rome and this personal way to consider trafficlight red color…. “fresh red”, “still orange”, “not yet hot”… amazing !


  4. leshayman says:

    Hi Enrico,
    After a trip to Bulgaria I think Italian drivers are not so crazy after all …

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