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Abraham Lincoln’s Time Management Legacy

Lincoln Was Right: Good (Leftover) Things Come to Those Who Wait

by David Ellis, Content and Community Manager at YouTern

 “Good things come to those who wait. But only those things left behind by those who hustle.”

–         Abraham Lincoln

Recently, I was watching Daniel Tosh, the uber-snarky host of  “Tosh.0”, doing stand-up on Comedy Central. During one of his signature rants Tosh was berating un-married people, saying: “You get up around noon… go grab a burrito… hit the gym and call it a full day!”

I heard this and I immediately thought: “Holy crap! He’s watching me!”

Tosh’s scenario used to describe many of my Saturdays to the exact detail… many more than I’m happy to admit, actually.

A burrito may not be involved in everyone’s lazy Saturday, but each of us has unproductive patterns we follow; call them a “habit”… a “lifestyle”… perhaps a “rut”. And they don’t just occur on weekends. In school we view our lives in quarters or semesters. We segment the working world into “ X days until Friday”, months or fiscal quarters. The hours and days fly by in a blur as we keep one eye toward the arrival of the next temporal milestone.

At the same time, we have a “bucket list”… either just some ideas or wishes; maybe we watched the classic movie and created an actual list for ourselves…a list that we’d get to if we “just had more time”.

Most of us, however, allow our bucket list to die a lonely death. We say to ourselves, “I don’t have enough time”. A sad excuse, really. The result:  missing out on goals and accomplishments by wasting time… by not hustling, as Mr. Lincoln might put it.

Among the items on my personal bucket list is to become more fluent in Spanish… far beyond the Spanglish that I’ve currently mastered. I have a copy of Rosetta Stone’s Spanish language lessons. I just never seem to have time to put toward using the lessons. I feel like I’m always working, and then it’s time to go to bed. Like many of us, I seem to have no time for crossing stuff off my bucket list.

What if we challenged ourselves to look at where our extra time goes? What do you think we’d find? I bet the results might embarrass most of us.

Let’s do it anyway! Let’s learn where our “non-hustle” time is spent!

For a week… or even better, for a month, diligently record your activities. Note how much time you spend on social media… reading non-work-related blogs… sitting in redundant meetings… socializing with co-workers. At home, track the time spent on reality television, gaming and lounging until noon on weekends.

The record-keeping doesn’t have to be highly detailed… just estimate the amount of time spent for each activity not related to self-improvement, self-learning, helping others… or crossing an item or two off the bucket list.

At the end of this exercise, I bet we’ll be amazed. I bet we’ll find tens, maybe hundreds, of hours spent in a manner we aren’t too proud of now.

In my case, I could be using that wasted time to achieve my foreign language goal. Or I could read industry-related blog posts to increase my skills. I could participate in more Twitter Chats and strengthen my network and my personal brand. There are plenty of online courses I could take in about an hour a day.

In short… instead of whatever it is I’ll find I was wasting time on… I could follow Mr. Lincoln’s advice, and hustle.

For those of you who take up this challenge, come back to this post and tell everyone how much time you found for yourself… time that you could now re-focus much more productively. Let us know what life-satisfying activity you’re now going to assign to those previously wasted hours.

I believe “Honest Abe” was right, that to those who hustle come the best things in life. I’m going to find out how much time I get back, that I can re-direct toward improving my life.

I’m going to add more hustle… and perhaps find even more time for burritos, too. (Sorry, Tosh).

To learn more about David Ellis, follow him on Twitter!

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  • memoryzone February 20, 2013, 12:48 pm

    He is a legend of America! Bravo him …