This past week, I conducted a time management seminar for around 40 people. Whenever I make this presentation, I asked the group “Why do you want to manage your time better?” The responses are varied but most revolve around time famine. They want to get more done, make more money or get a better job.
Then, I ask them if they have ever considered the reason to better manage time is to get done what we need to do in fewer hours, so that we might have more time to devote to the things that are really important.
“Are You Living Your Eulogy or Your Resume?” I’ll ask.
Usually, there are few confused faces, because it is a question that many have never been asked.
A recent Huffington Post article talked about redefining success, beyond power and money to include well-being, wisdom and our ability to wonder and to give, as part of the equation. They call it the Third Metric.
When we remember someone who died, we rarely talk about their money and power achievements. We talk about the quality of their character, what they believed in, how they treated people, or their strong faith.
We don’t recall their number of Facebook friends, the number of times they reviewed the sales figures, or that they never missed a reality show. We remember things like Joe was a good husband, father, and friend. Or, Mary cared about the poor, less fortunate, the sick and the aged.
In managing our time, we must differentiate between things that are important and things that are urgent. Things like e-mail, texting, smart phones, Facebook and Twitter are all made to seem important because their immediacy creates a false sense of urgency.
Their urgency doesn’t make them important! As a matter of fact they are the greatest time wasters!
Last week, I saw a man in a swimming pool with his kids, but he was wearing his blue tooth headset in the water, just in case someone called. Is it that he considers the smart phone more important that some quality time with his kids or has he simply become so narcissistic that being connected with work is more important than being connected with his children? Teens will text their friends hundreds of times a day, instead of getting on their bicycle and spending some time together.
“Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
What would happen if we talked to a fellow worker face to face instead of texting them? What would happen if we took half the time we spend on Facebook and visited someone in the hospital, Grandma at the nursing home or serving food at a local shelter?
We would be living our Eulogy instead of our resume! We would be defining our success by the Third Metric of well-being, wisdom and our ability to wonder and to give back.
Catholic author Matthew Kelly often speaks of the goal of becoming “the best version of yourself” that you can. Isn’t that is what our Lord is asking of us? To do that, we must realize that the best version of ourselves isn’t how quickly we can respond to a text message. Our how many e-mail’s we get each day, or by the number of our Facebook friends. It is how we use our gifts for the glory of God.
Take the Eulogy test. How would you like your life to be described at your funeral? It is not too late to change gears and make your life matter!
Business philosopher and author Jim Rohn said, “We all have two choices: We can make a living or we can design a life.” We can discover this by asking the question, “What gives meaning to my life?”
That answer will reveal the best, most authentic version of you. Live that and you’ll be living your eulogy instead of your resume.
**This post is an update of a story originally published in October of 2013.**