A Fragmented Life

Living life one segment at a time

If our entire life were measured in a single unit, how would we comprehend all the moments we've lived?

Planning is the act of allocating future time and space to pursue an endeavor, realize an idea, play out a dream, or fulfill a desire. the plan paints the ideal. In order to move an ambitious plan forward, we assign each step of that plan in time and space. Tasks often take far longer than we planned because we failed to plan for the unforeseen obstacles.

You need a system to trigger alerts to act on each step when the time arrives. A structure to bring us back to what's important right now.

To schedule a task is to give it the opportunity to gain our time, energy, and attention. We've deemed it's important enough to us to allocate time to it. Those we schedule time define the importance they play in our life. Thus scheduling becomes the most critical aspect of any plan. It's the start of the start-middle-end continuum.

Imagination is the spark of creativity.

We may fail to stick to our plan because we lack the imagination, ingenuity, creativity, or simply time. We may put the step on our schedule, but lack an ability to stick to the schedule we created. We fail to stick to the plan. Our plans quickly become fragmented.

Plan your work and work your plan. You need to find time to do both. If what you are doing isn't part of the plan, then you aren't working your plan.

A highly valued resource is one that adheres to a predefined time, moves a plan forward, and assembles the pieces from the start to the end... through execution.

The purpose of life is to evolve. Progress is evolution. Scheduling reflects predefined progress. Scheduling becomes the most important key to making progress. Today, more than ever, we must evolve or die. The world demands we progress at it's pace or we suffer as a result.

Finding balance is a matter of allocating our time according to our own unique requirements of these three facets:

Our state of satisfaction, our connectedness, is largely due to our opinion of ourselves in how we measure progress in respect to where we are in life.

"My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action. I will act now. - Og Madino The Greatest Salesman in the World

Time is a Social Agreement

Time is a metric we use to connect our self-made concepts of past and future. They are concepts that only exist in our mind. Social commitments are the segments we put on our daily calendar and verbally commit to spending our time with. Action itself can only exist in the present moment. Unless we are planning for our future, our focus should be on the act at hand.

The future is a friend you haven't met yet.

Do you see the future as a friend or foe? In our minds, the past or future can become a friend or foe, depending on our attitude and perspective. Has time been good to you?

Beginning. Middle. End.

The beginning are projects and events not yet started or in our backlog.

The middle is what you are working on in this moment. It’s who you are because it's who you are being. It demands you play the role necessary.

The end are the completions. They are complete for now. They may result in new beginnings, but you have done what you are able to do in the time you have allocated in the middle (now).

Like a shooting target, it’s when you are in the red zone that what you are working on really matters.

Visualize a target. You are in the 'red zone' of the large when you are in the middle of the task. You hit a bullseye when you are consumed by the task. You are in the flow. You lose track of time, in fact time seems to slow down or even stand still. Someone could walk past you and you wouldn't even seen them because you are so absorbed in the act.

To be a sharp shooter, you have to be able to put up your blinders. You are looking down the barrel of a scope. You are taking aim. When you pull the trigger, you are in the sweet spot. You take your best shot.

Don't let the calendar be your master

Are you being a slave to time or the master of it? In this sense, I refer to time as the hour-by-hour metric upon which we structure our day.

Something I've discovered is that the predefined duration I allocate to a task is nothing more than a guess. If I tell myself I've going for a 2-hour bike ride, but I'm feeling great, why would I want to cut it short? Why not go with the good feeling and stretch myself? Next time, I can allocate 3 hours for a ride, but after 2, may determine I've had enough. I know tomorrow I'll feel much better if I stop when I'm not feeling good, and go further when I am. Discipline and integrity are tightly coupled - rooted in our ability to live up to our word.

Obsession and Focus

Focus comes from having an obsession on whatever it is you are doing. To become obsessed is to embody the act you are engaged in.

Obsession is healthy.

When an idea becomes a project, and that project becomes your obsession, an outcome is inevitable. Stay committed to the original idea, but open to how it might appear. To maintain focus, one must possess a degree of obsession with the idea. The challenge is staying on the path when the finish line keeps moving!

We often need to remind ourselves of the destination because bright shiny objects will always try to pull us off course. Your path may not look the same as anyone else’s path, but stay on it… know that it is the right path for you.

The key is to find a structure that works for you. The calendar is a universal structure and our phones can be a helpful tool to remind us of what we are supposed to be doing (to the extent that you've filled your calendar with your tasks).

Focus comes from having an obsession on whatever it is you are doing. To become obsessed is to embody the act you are engaged in.

To be obsessed at some level with an outcome is a natural part of accomplishment and I would argue obsession is a vital part of most great accomplishments.

The secret to living in the space of ’now’

Our ability to focus on the task at hand - that is, to give our full attention to the act itself - to devote ourselves to be fully ‘here’ in the moment.

When you become one with the task at hand, you become one with the activity - the act of doing. Who you are is what you do.

It’s when who you are being becomes blurred with what you are doing and in doing so, the task becomes effortless (as you remove the friction between the doing and the doer).

The source of creativity

When you become what you are doing, you become the source of creativity. It can be witnessed in creatives who are in the act of creating. Nothing else can break their concentration (nor should it). The roof could fall over them and they would still be fully engaged in the act.

Timeless

It’s like when I’m writing and I have a sense that the words I write are being read - I literally become each letter of each word. I become timeless because it does not matter when the words are read, yet they are read at some point in time, when time collapses into a single point (the moment).

To be here now, now is relative to time. So ‘now’ is timeless. The words I write are being read by you, yet it does not matter when you read them, only that you read them.

Our lives are like that. If you zoom out far enough - your entire life can be seen as a single point. The illusion is that our mind must create a distance, for it cannot comprehend an entire life in a single instant. But when you remove the aspect of time (a man-made concept), what remains? Just a single point. We are but the tip of a pencil.

Acting from intelligence rather than emotion

I look back at the impulse buys in our life, it's when we let our emotions get involved that we tend to make decisions we later regret. Whether it's a new car, new job, or buying or home, or other major life decision, can you recognize when your emotions swaying you one way or another?

Zoom out

One way to avoid making emotionally charged decisions is to zoom out. Imagine you were far away from this planet. Light years away... but you had a telescope with the ability to see clearly from light years away. If you could, you'd essentially have the ability to time travel. You could see a duration of time in a single moment. Time becomes a visible dimension, just as the distance between two visible points. It allows you to see the 'Then What' we can't see at the time we make a decision.

It’s like watching an ant cross the room. From your perspective, you can see the ant’s future (as you watch it), but the ant only has a tiny glimpse of what you can see. It’s no different for us - we only see a glimpse of our entire life one moment at a time.

The present is (in)tense

You can't live in the future and the past is only a memory. We only have this moment. So when you zoom out, does it create a sense of friction with now? For many of us, there’s a constant tension between where we are and where we want to be. That’s what I refer to as ‘present tense.’ :-)

Are you waiting in anticipation for a future that may never come? How often do we do things as a knee jerk emotional reaction, only to regret them later?