There is an all-you-can-eat buffet to our home, And our family likes to go there from time to time.
Everyone in our family enjoys going for different reasons.
Some like to go because they don't have to cook or clean up afterwards.
Some claim they are so hungry that they could eat everything.
Others enjoy the unlimited deserts. Others love the salad bar, While some head straight for their favorite entrees.
The options and combinations you can eat in an all-you-can-eat buffet are so numerous that it would take some effort to compute.
We always enjoy ourselves.
No one leaves hungry, But sometimes some of us feel that we ate more than was necessary, And we get that bloated feeling.
There are some parallels between all-you-can eat-buffet and our time-management approach.
I think too many of us go about our time-management strategies and to-do lists like some of us go to an all-you-can-eat buffet .
We hungry to achieve, Excited and anxious about everything we can do with our time.
With all of the options that only our imagination can limit, We try to do it all. Like eating too much at the buffet, Trying to tackle too much in any given period of time, gives us that same bloated, Sick, “I shouldn't have done that” feeling.
Just as you can't possibly eat everything in an all-you-can-eat buffet today and everyday, You won't get everything done that can be possibly done in a day and repeat the feat every day!
It seems an obvious enough idea mentally, But emotionally and psychologically, We all wish it were otherwise. You just have to get over it.
Even if everything is carefully mapped out, There is always an X-factor. It's called life.
Life always puts a kink even in the most well-thought-out plans.
The key to maximizing your peace and productivity is what I refer to as selective neglect.
Time management philosophies and practices primarily focus on what you are going to do but seldom, If ever, On what you are choosing not to do.
Saying yes is easy.
Knowing when and how to say no is the tricky part.
Because there are not enough hours in a day, Many times we are left to arbitrarily choose what to do and what not to do.
More often than not, Our decisions on what we are going to do are based on an event's urgency or how we feel at the time (Monkey or mammalian brain), Only to find out later that perhaps it wasn't the highest-leverage thing we can have done.
Just as a side note, I only schedule about two-thirds of my day, Because unexpected variables (You know, that life thing) Fill in the other third.
I find that if I fill more than two-thirds of my calendar, The X-factor throws off my schedule, And I just get frustrated that I didn't accomplish everything I set out to do.
I run out of time and can't catch up.
Some of you may cringe at the thought of having a third of your day unscheduled. Two-thirds of your time scheduled, So long at is highly leveraged, And one third unscheduled is not a hard and fast number.
You will find the appropriate ratio that works best for you.
Perhaps you will schedule more, perhaps a tad less.
You will find as you work through this philosophy that you won't be concerned about how much time is scheduled as you will be about the leverage of what is scheduled.
You'll be more concerned with leading the kind of life that will help you create the culture of being more and not just doing more.
Back to selective neglect in the all-you-can-eat buffet of life.
In a corporate meeting I attended where a company was newly acquired, strategy was the topic of the day.
Everyone came anxious to exchange thoughts on the great possibilities in the future.
Everyone shared with great passion what they thought were the greatest opportunities that should be pursued.
Finally, One very astute and sincere veteran manager said, “As I listen to everyone's ideas, time and time again, I have come to the conclusion that the best idea I've heard is the last Idea I heard.
Have you ever had this happen to you? Have you ever been so convinced by someone else' idea only to lament later, “What was I thinking?”
Have you ever been convinced by a passionate plea from your children, Yet later, You can't recall how you ever came to such a silly conclusion?
Do you know why advertising works, And you end up buying things that you had no plans to buy?
There is a common thread to all three of these scenarios.
When we make any decision, Consciously or unconsciously, We filter our decisions through our decision criteria.
Sometimes we are deliberate about our decision criteria, And other times someone else will dictate the decision criteria of us, If we are not paying attention.
The veteran manager was open to new ideas, But he didn't have his conscious decision criteria to help him differentiate between a great idea versus a mediocre one that had been delivered with great excitement.
For example, As a parent we may unknowingly make a decision based on taking discomfort and stress away from our children, When those very challenges represent growth and a great teaching moment.
When it comes to time management, Making a conscious decision about our decision criteria is a foundational to knowing what we should be scheduling in the first place.
It is a vital component to know what to selectively neglect.
This again is tapping into the very best that we have inside of us (Divine brain) and not just what feels right at the moment (Monkey brain).
Selective neglect is having the understanding that we can't do everything.
It is coming to terms with knowing we can't say yes to everything, And that we have to say no in all-you-can-eat buffet options of life.
Selective neglect is taking the time to come up with our decision criteria.
Selective neglect is also realizing that if our choices help us be the person we want to be, We will look back with great satisfaction and peace that we made the right choices.