If You’re On-Time, You’re In A Rush

“If you’re on-time, you’re late.”

Sounds wise and shocking, until you realize it’s not. Impressive, because it takes something acceptable and makes it sound as though it’s completely unacceptable. Clever.

You get a little older and realize this is a lie. Kind of like when you clock-in at the last minute, fly into the parking lot by the seat of your pants a few times, show up to pick up a date at 7pm…on the dot, turn in that writing assignment to your eye-rolling professor, write “Happy Birthday” at 11:57 p.m. on someone’s facebook wall, and somehow make it to the curb with your trash can in the morning…and you know what? You got away with it. Because you’re not late. You’re in a rush. 

That’s the true saying: “If you’re on-time, you’re in a rush.”

Until now, it’s been unnoticeable to you. Because when you’re on-time, you’re good. Not great, but you’re good. And who’s going to tell you about this? Nobody. Because it’s your right. And you’re abusing it or giving up a life of peaceful, swift, and graceful entries in and out of each experience during the course of your very hurried life.

Think about it. You’re always in motion. Everything in your schedule leading up to an event and deadline in your life is now a slave to perfection and the absence of friction when you’re on-time. You don’t get to smoothly transition. You get to hurry. What used to be a negligible amount of change or deviation is now a deal-breaker. Traffic is a something to worry about. Married and a family man? Ask me how that works. Wait, don’t. I’ll tell you. Your wife can’t forget anything on the way to the car. Your kids can’t forget their favorite toy. You don’t get to look for your favorite station on the radio. The car will remain on 0 miles to empty. You will run to work. You will breathe heavily even after you’ve “made it”. Because you don’t have time on your side anymore. You surrendered that partnership when you waited until it was too late to be early.

On the other hand, you don’t have to make people wonder. You don’t have to be the person that others would love to hate, but can’t. It would have been easier to say “You don’t have to be difficult”, but that’s really what I meant to say there.

Instead of breaking even with your day, let me repeat that…instead of BREAKING EVEN with your day (meaning you gained nothing), why not invest in a small reserve of time that allows for human error? Avoid frustration. You’ll have to acknowledge that you can’t control everything, and that necessitates the need for a cushion of reserve time before the next appointment or commitment you’ve made. But trust me, it’s worth it. You’re less of a headache that way. You have less headaches that way. Ever seen the guy that always has a silly reason for being late when he finally is? Nobody cares a whole lot about that guy. They sympathize, but they can’t change him. Be the master of your schedule and make “early” the ideal, not simply the “noble” thing to do.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

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Becoming Ruthless in your Endeavors

I can’t talk about my job in detail.

But what I can tell you is how I prepare for it. Every morning.

The successful have rituals: a list of items to complete that provides more than just a feeling of accomplishment. I adopted and modified this approach based on the studies of Tim Ferris.

I wake up before anybody else does. Two hours pass before I clock in. Once the alarm goes off, I check my email, look at the news, check my facebook notifications, and then roll out of bed. Reading always helps me rub out the fogginess in the corner of my eyes.

After showering, I get dressed and begin to cook an egg and a slice of bacon.  My work shirt is already on the iron board with the iron heating up. I sit down to eat while listening to some smooth jazz or watching a biker documentary on our smart tv. We’re about 35-45 minutes into my morning so far. The ironing begins immediately afterwards.

5 minutes or so go into reading some Scripture. I read John Maxwell’s Leadership bible and enjoy his excerpts and breakdowns of the characters involved. He makes sure to break down their leadership qualities as well as their formulas for failure. This is my coaching time.

Afterwards, I spend 5 minutes reflecting. I let God guide my thoughts on each topic and ask that I have clarity on the direction I should take with my day. Running through each role I play, I start to think about where I’ve met success and where I’ve come up short. Father, husband, employee, coworker, friend…..what can be done differently? Candidly, I critique myself and think about my growth in each area. How can I serve more? How can I simplify my routine? How can I improve the quality of time within each category? How is my attitude displayed during the trials that each facet will offer?

My daily prayers are basic, but meaningful. At the very least, “Lord, please bless my day indeed. Keep your hand upon us. Keep us from evil and from causing pain. May your will be done, today. …I put it all in Your hands. Amen.”

That’s it. That’s the jist of what I need… I ask for blessings. More than I can fathom. When I say “bless my day indeed”, what I’m really asking for is for Him to bless me so abundantly that I can hardly believe it’s real. I want so much to the point that I’m overwhelmed. I ask for protection. Not just from natural occurences, but from evil itself. And from being the person at fault in any situation that’s regrettable. And finally, “May your will be done, today. …I put it all in Your hands. Amen.” I’m literally saying “Just do whatever You want! I don’t know if I’m ready for it, but let’s do it. Head-on. It’s all in Your hands. If I missed anything in my prayers, you know what I need and want. You know how to take care of my life. I trust that.

“Amen.” Basically, if my will is God’s will, then both will be done. There’s the hope of an alignment there. There’s the risk that I’m not asking for what He wants to give me. But I’m confident that if it is, then it’ll happen. Period.

60- 70 minutes into my day, I kiss my wife goodbye, head out the door, and ride to work on my Harley. I talk with a few supervisors, grab a cup of coffee in the breakroom, then walk through the door to the office. That’s where the remaining 50 minutes go. No matter what happens today, I’ve had my personal time. I’ve taken back that half of the day by starting it with my own schedule and choices.

I’m more relaxed. I have a plan for what I can foresee. I’m well-dressed, fed, and spiritually ready to tackle whatever comes at me. And throughout the entire morning, I’m repeating a variation of this one phrase…“I’m going to be RUTHLESS in achieving my goals.” 

“Nothing will bring me down today.”

“Anything so-and-so says is NOT a big deal.”

“My finances are not the beginning, nor end of me. I will become successful.”

“Be ruthless in your endeavors.”

Instead of putting myself down with negative thoughts or doubt, I’m amping myself up with positive motivation. I’m already anticipating the suck, but I won’t be a contributing part of it. I borrowed this approach and statement from Anthony Robbins. He’s a little more vulgar, using “taboo words” to break through comfort zones and transcend norms and mental restraints. I do the same, just not on this post *wink*. I’ll let you fill in the blanks.

I’m more relaxed. I have a plan for what I can foresee. I’m well-dressed, fed, and mentally ready to tackle whatever comes at me.

It’s simplistic and effective. It’s routine, but interesting. It’s flexible for changes, but unchanging in effect. Since I’ve started this, my morning is no longer in chaos. It’s not rushed, it’s not “on-time”, and it’s not “something to do”. Every minute has a purpose. There’s a handful of minor investments in life the second I open my eyes. And it’s a small part of what makes the day go from “good” to “great”.

What are your rituals? How can you improve your day and start a solid, empowering routine that will help you overcome obstacles and put yourself in an ideal position to embrace the productivity of your day? Make a routine and stick to it.

And whatever you do, do it now.

 

 

This IS the Good Part

We value our family time together. In fact, “family” and “time” tend to be used in combination quite often around our home.

Lately, our son, Raiden, has been the prime motivation for getting outdoors on our days off. With Texas winters acting a lot like any other state’s summer, it’s easy to get sick with the constant change in temperature. We figured we’d power through the gut-busting, food-laden holidays, but with at least one of us sniffling at all times, we compensated with healthier foods and little movie nights as a family….now that we’re on the other side of that, our routine is finally taking shape again.

Raiden is my model for getting the most out of my day. It’s a simple strategy, really:

Nap when able, stay on your feet, and stay curious.

Translated into our adult world: get some rest, stay active, and put effort into keeping your interest in learning alive.

It’s not the same trail every week. It’s the trail where Raiden learned the difference between a boulder and a rock. That’s not the same trail running alongside that apartment complex. Last week he learned that Dad’s key ring can’t open every gate around him. Little things like that remind Dad to continue seeing analogies in life. And that bridge is where Raiden started to fear the sound of something he can’t see. The cars overhead. It’s easy to see how patient God is when you’re explaining something so simple, yet something not to be completely understood for a while longer. Belief, but not just by sight.

I try not to be anxious while we’re out there. A 30 minute walk with a stroller is a two and a half hour walk with all of us on foot. But this is what counts. “As good as it gets” will become more precious as he gets older. These simple walks are shaping him to become more independent and fearless than I’ll ever be. And this is all just my perspective. My wife has an entirely different experience than I do. Every time. Nature offers each of us a different serving of humility and reflection.

We’re not getting to the good part. This is the good part.

Rest. Stay active. Learn. ….and love.

And whatever you do, do it now.