Have you ever wondered how many Saturdays you have left?
If you knew, would you change the way you spent the next one?
How about meetings or conversations or emails?
If you knew how many you had left, in some kind of mystic countdown timer, would you behave differently?
There is a movie called ‘In Time’ (IMDB) where people can buy (or steal) more time to live – they all have a countdown timer embedded in their forearm.
Imagine knowing, to the second, when it was ‘your time’. Morbid thought?
Well, it depends on your perspective on life and how you want to spend it.
The knowledge itself could be empowering or crippling. You could either live life to the fullest or worry about everything you didn’t (or won’t be able) to do.
How differently could you perceive the time you have left?
I downloaded a free app recently called “How many Saturdays?” by Exploratorium that measures your time left on Earth in various ways without really looking at years, days, hours or minutes.
Instead it shows you in ‘mayfly lifetimes’ or ‘blue moons’ or ‘heartbeats’ or ‘farts’ or ‘Saturdays’.
It’s an interesting experiment and it may change the way you perceive how much time you have left and what to do with it.
How many times have you said to your child or loved one “Just a minute, this is a really important call.” and tuned out from an exciting tale from their day?
If you could see “how many important calls?” or (maybe more impactful) “how many more excited conversations about my childs day at school?” you had left then perhaps you would change your behaviour.
Maybe you wouldn’t. After all, work pays the bills and it’s an important part of your life.
But what if you delayed that call until Monday?
Would the world fall apart? Would the project drown? Would you be out of a job?
In most cases, nothing will happen.
I used to work 80-90 hour weeks, building amazing things for huge brands with awesome people. The projects were always crazy and the work was always fun.
But it took a huge toll on my health and my family.
And after some mindful coaching with a great mentor, I realised that the means did not justify the ends.
The projects would continue to roll, the deadlines would forever be tighter and the clients would always be that little bit more crazy.
In part, I moved into coaching to help people step away from the world of work defining them. With a poor work / life balance, people are not great in any part of their life.
Their relationships suffer, their health suffers, their work suffers. As does their purpose.
When coaching people in the knowledge industry, it is important to empower them to understand that balance is key to being happy.
Happy people do great things. That balance will show in everything they do.
And they’ll never regret being at home for dinner with the family.
Top five regrets of the dying
Over a few years a palliative care nurse (Bronnie Ware) captured the epiphanies of her dying patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She wrote a blog that got so much attention that she wrote a book about it too. You can read more about both on her website: http://bronnieware.com
In summary, the five regrets were:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.
Notice how there was no mention of “more weekend work” or “missing the school play” or “driving a better car”?
So. I have 2,250 Saturdays left.
I am going to make sure that each one counts.
And that each one does not include a conference call that could wait until Monday.
What will you do with yours?