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The Overscheduled Life – and How to Avoid it

7 October 2020

I love being busy. In fact, there is nothing much more energizing for me than a day of meeting with clients, and helping them achieve their goals.

But I learned long ago that the next meeting tends to go a lot better if I’m not rushing headlong from the meeting before it. So, for quite some time, I made sure to leave at least 15 minutes, and preferably half an hour, between meetings, and made sure that those who handled my calendar knew to do that, too.

More recently, I’ve allocated specific days and hours to client meetings. Other hours to deal with issues my team needs my help with. And time to shut my office door, focus, and think – on client-specific problems to solve, and the trajectory of our firm.

In my opinion, it’s not a good idea to lock ourselves into a full calendar for months in advance – do that, and we can’t say ‘yes’ when a friend offers us concert tickets. And then we will have a lot of schedule-juggling to do when a long-standing client – or a new one, for that matter – comes to us for help with an urgent matter.

Socrates famously said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” But it was Naval Ravikant, founder of Epinions, who said, “The overscheduled life is not worth living.”

If our days are spent rushing from one task to another, if our calendars look like tennis tournament brackets, we’re rushing too much, taking on more than we ought to in one day. And our mental and physical lives will be poorer for it, although we may have a little more money in the bank – for now.

Rather than letting our calendars running our lives, maybe we should run them. Calendars are our tools, not our masters. As we schedule ourselves, let’s do so reasonably and with mindfulness. Our focus and our work will be all the better for it.

We should also remember the importance of free time, not just for vacations, but every day. We earn our free time with our hard work. If we look at it like that, free time is part of our compensation package, in the larger sense. We wouldn’t work for free, so why should we work for no free time?

How do you avoid overscheduling yourself? What techniques or strategies have worked best for you?

Please click here to email me directly – I would love to hear your stories – and maybe get a few tips!

Until next Wednesday –

Peace,

Eric

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