Fill Your Bucket
There are several pieces of advice I feel perpetually confident in giving–decaf only after 2 PM, read the book before you watch the movie, hold the mayo (no really, hold the mayo).
Here’s another: try hard not to ruminate on the passage of time while your family’s away for the weekend. Not if you want to get anything done.
Running a small business is in many ways like tending a garden. There are fruits, often times bountiful, but it’s easy to get lost in the weeds and the dirt in hopes of a better harvest. Thinking back on my last ten years (holy crap it’s been that long), I’m struck by how many small moments in the present that I’ve given away to the future. The hours I’ve sat on my computer, reading, researching, dreaming. Jesus, sitting in that chair and just thinking, and thinking, and planning, and dreaming. The instances I’ve said “nevermind, I’ll do it” instead of letting good be better than perfect. The times that I’ve looked my children in the eye and said “not now, I’m working.” The times I’ve reached for the gauzy imaginings of tomorrow: the rock solid income and two point five weeks of paid vacation that might allow me to tell my family “hey, we finally made it…THIS is what we were moving towards all those hours.”
But the deal is that my kids are 9 and 6. They won’t be 8 and 5 again. I don’t get back the hours I’ve lost and I can’t shoehorn things into our shared past from the present moment. Those times are gone.
That can be crippling or that can be catalyzing. I can sniffle a few tears and beat my chest in mourning, or I can man the fuck up and own what time I have–every present moment. Because while it’s true that time is like health in that it’s something you can’t really buy back, I know for sure that there are a bunch of things I can do to make the most out of what time I have.
7 hours of sleep vs. 5 hours: happier, more present. Much more patience. Better time.
An hour of exercise a day, cardio component more often than not: brain wakes up, more positive, anxiety protection. Better time.
Read and write every day!: better engagement with outside world, more empathetic, sense of accomplishment I can model to kids. Better time.
This is my list, part of it at least, but you get the picture. When I fill my bucket, I’m making my time better. If I can’t get back moments I’ve lost or add an actual hour or two every day, this seems like the next best venture: practices that have a kind of compound effect on what time I do have.
So I take my ladle and I take my bucket and here we go. Time to fill it up.