Rushing For Time

Posted on July 17, 2009

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I’ve got 30 minutes to blog before I leave for a workshop. I should have an hour, but the state Department of Transportation partially closed a major East-West highway to repair a bridge, and traffic is a nightmare so I have to leave even earlier. Since my old car doesn’t have air-conditioning, it promises to be a roasting trip through H-E-double hockey sticks. As I realize this, I also realize that I don’t have a blog topic for today.

I could just blog this afternoon, after the workshop. It gets out around 2:00, but again – it will take me well over an hour to get home afterward, and I want to go to the gym. I managed to run twice this week, despite the heat and other commitments, and that illustrated for me what strength training I need to do in order to improve my running. Plus, the gym is air-conditioned. So that would mean not blogging until evening, which seems too late for today and would interfere with my cooking dinner (grilled chicken, wild rice, salads – I already know).

As I was thinking about all that, I started thinking about my priorities. With all I tweet and blog about personal branding, that shouldn’t come as any surprise. How we prioritize our time says a lot about our personal brand. If you say you’re detail-oriented, but you keep forgetting where you put your car keys or to change the oil in your car, then you need to either adjust your life or adjust your brand. Both can be tough!

Making time to run is important to me. Running isn’t something that I do, it’s something that I am. It’s deep under my skin now. When I let other tasks overwhelm me and keep me from running, it feels like I’m betraying myself. So I run. Even a short run is better than none at all. So the conflict between my blog and my need to exercise is a healthy one. Exercise “won” today because it’s part of my brand, whereas blogging is something I do to express myself and my personal brand. One is a product, the other is a tool for marketing that product, if that makes any more sense. So I wasn’t going to skip going to the gym in order to blog.

Yesterday, I had some homework from a workshop on Wednesday (Part I of the series I’m continuing today). I promised my partner that I would have my homework done by noon, and even though I had to drive to PetCo to deliver my wife’s work clothes (in all her years at PetCo, that was the first time she forgot her smock), I got it done. My partner was surprised by how fast I work. I wasn’t. I was a professional game writer for three years, expected to turn out at least 2,000 words/day. Revising a resume for a specific job application shouldn’t take me very long – especially since I’d put in two weeks of work on the master version already.

That experience helped me prioritize this morning. Once I realized that my topic was time management and prioritizing, I could knock out this post in just a few minutes. That’s good enough for a Friday, says I! When I felt rushed and hassled by lack of time, I stopped to think about my priorities and what I was willing to give up in order to get other things done. Just those few seconds of clear prioritizing focused me, and smoothed out my day. It seems counter-intuitive when you’re already in a hurry, but stop and think. Why am I doing this? Do I need to do this? Is there something else I need more? Focus on your priorities. Do the big things first, and you’ll find ways to include the little things as you do.

Have a great weekend, readers, and on Monday I’ll have another post about what my dogs have taught me about leadership.

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