Like many of you, I use the New Year to find improvements in my approach to business. Last year I found a great calendar hack that has dramatically improved the amount of time spent in the back and forth of scheduling.
This year, I tried a new life hack and it is working fantastically.
This year I gave myself the gift of time.
Let me set the scenario that everyone of us goes through every single day. There is a meeting scheduled and you show up. Your expectation is that the person you are meeting with is already there. In that case, you exchange pleasantries and move into meeting mode. In that case, the connection (from your point of view) was instant and perfect (no down time).
But, at least half the time (for me a little more as I am a little OCD about being 5 minutes early), I arrive first at the meeting (coffee shop, office, lunch, late afternoon frosty beverage). Now the gross majority of us use that time to go to our phone and check email, scan Twitter or your social media of choice. Our rationalization is that we should use this time to "catch up" and stay connected.
Over the holidays, I thought about this time gap (the time between my arrival and my connection's arrival) and came up with a twisted viewpoint. My epiphany was that this time gap was a gift to me. It is an unscheduled block of time where there are no expectations. It is literally the gift of time and I can utilize this time anyway I want.
My resolution this year was to accept this gift to my fullest extent.
Since Christmas, I have used that time to sit and let my mind wander. Sometimes I think about the meeting coming up. Sometimes I think about my kids or my wife. Sometimes I think about that idea that has been bouncing around in my head. Sometimes I just watch people. (That is my favorite task right now as it clears my brain.)
What I have discovered is that I have 3-5 of these during the day and I am using these as brain palate cleansers. I actually feel a bit refreshed and find that I enter the next meeting with a better attitude. This gift is the gift that keeps on giving. For most of us, it is difficult to schedule breaks during the day. We know we should do it but we don't. Well, here is a small gift that lands in your lap. My advice? Accept this gift and make it part of your day.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.
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