The reason I ask is that so many people I know have lives that indicate that they don’t know themselves. Ask anyone how they typically spend their days and you will find out very quickly if there is anything particularly important to that person and where their life is generally headed. All too often people take the path of least resistance in life which ultimately makes for little satisfaction and the feeling at a certain age that life has passed them by. To provide an example of what I’m talking about, here is a rough breakdown of my typical week:

  • 6:30 Wake up/shower/bfast
  • 7:05 Leave for work (checking email, facebook and news on my phone at the points I sit in traffic)
  • 7:35 Arrive at work. Professional development (currently doing a diploma of management, but also reading books related to my field etc)
  • 8:30-5:00 Work – 5 minutes every hour I take a walk up our street and back. My lunch hour I spend the first 30min taking a walk outside
  • 5:45 Gym
  • 7:00 Dinner
  • 7:30-8:30 Maybe watch some tv
  • 8:30-9:30 Writing
  • 9:30 Read a bit of fiction before going to sleep

2 days of the week I don’t go to the gym and instead go to judo from 7-9. Things are a bit chaotic at the moment as I’m either commuting to Canberra on the weekend or my wife is coming up here, so my time is a bit shaken up. Nevertheless, there isn’t much wasted time in there, is there? What can you glean from looking at my day about where my priorities lie? I’ll leave it for you to guess in the comments if you like.

I know A LOT of people who constantly complain that they don’t get promoted at work, that their life is boring, that they are always tired. All you have to do is look at their schedule to work out the problem. They stay up late watching tv or playing games and don’t get adequate sleep. They eat like crap. They spend their work day going through the motions, thinking that competence should equal promotion. Newsflash – you have to do a bit more. You have to develop yourself professionally. Likewise people waste hours watching television – I do it a couple of nights a week too if I’m tired, but really it is dead time that could be better spent doing other things.

My schedule is no accident. I didn’t obsessively plan it down to the last second, but I know what I want over the next few years and how I have my day planned will help make it happen. If you want certain things out of life, you have to make them happen. If I wanted to make the Olympics in judo, it wouldn’t be a case of just training a bit harder and seeing how things went – that’s setting myself up for failure (and giving myself an excuse to fail). I’d have to have a team of people helping me and have everything planned out, from training sessions to competitions to periodised strength and conditioning. This is no different to any other endeavour. If I want to rise to the top in the corporate world, turning up every day isn’t going to cut it. I need to plan out my day so I can keep abreast of what is happening in my industry, do online courses that will help my development, network with the right people and so on.

Time waits for no man. While you are wasting yours watching tv (which you wont miss once you stop doing it), other people are doing the things I mentioned above. You can choose not to do that, there is nothing wrong with it, but understand you have no right to whinge that things aren’t handed to you.