I was 'wasting' a veritable ton of time in Cusco, Peru, my new home. More time than some people I know waste in two years.
Whole weeks went by with nothing accomplished. This didn't bother me, initially. Until several weeks turned into three months. The first few months were fine -- just going out and having a good time every night. I needed it. My entire soul was tired. I had done a job for many years that only had two benefits:
2. The wonderful people I worked with.
However, there was no soul-level satisfaction in my work. Zero. It was a grind, as they say. So I sold everything I owned, packed one suitcase, and unwound -- 11,200 feet in the Andes mountains. For a very, very long time.
It's a key component of health, in my opinion, to 'waste' a lot of time hanging out with good friends and doing 'nothing.' I'm keenly aware of how exorbitant a luxury this is. I have seen some astonishing poverty in my life. Most of my travels have been in developing countries, not Bora Bora.
But there comes a time when you want to be productive, whatever that might mean to you.
I realized that in order to be productive, most of us have to measure results, or our goals won't happen. The picture attached to this post is my checklist for 18 different items I set out to accomplish on a daily basis. Big wins are composed of smaller daily wins that accumulate over chunks of time.
"That which gets measured, gets managed," is a quote often attributed to the great business management writer (guru!) Peter Drucker <-- (click for Peter's 10 quotes to live by)!
I think it's a powerful axiom, indeed. There are a lot of "O"s on my chart...a lot of 'failures,' if you will. But there are also quite a few "X"s. At the end of a month and a half I can see how I did on my goals.
There is nowhere to hide with this method of tracking. Your mind can't obfuscate the issue of progress with the little lies we often tell ourselves about what we do. The Xs and Os are right there in plain sight telling you how you did. We are what we do every day. Not what we say we are going to do. Not our intentions. But what we actually do every day. Often, in relationships, we get caught up in what people say and not what they do. We want to believe what they say because they have very attractive characteristics. But the proof of character is in what we do on a day-to-day basis.
I share this in the hopes that some people will find it useful. I loved the idea of turning wins and losses into a concrete graphic, in-your-face feedback loop.
Good luck out there!
Scott in Peru.