When most of my fellow Generation X’s first set out on their careers I doubt many would have guessed accurately how their lives would pan out or how challenging it would be to be a success in their chosen field.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be but looking back the signs were there at a very early age. Creating my own football cards using imaginary players and actually selling them, 2p each. Re-selling my fathers confectionary ingredients in sample bags during school break times and making a few pounds from a card club that hid within the legitimate but rather more boring chess club.
After a few failed attempts in other areas, insurance and travel I discovered marketing and hey presto I’m now a marketer, one of the chartered variety actually I have a certificate that says so.
But even though my career path has seemed relatively linear; school boy salesman, marketing exec, sales manager, marketing manager, head of marketing etc.. I can assure you it’s been far from straightforward.
I’m not unusual in this reflection of my work life. Whether soldier, scientist, safe cracker or solicitor; dealing with day to day matters to stay one step ahead has become increasingly challenging.
But why is this and what of the future? Part of the issue is time or rather a lack of it. We try and achieve too much and have over exaggerated expectations of what we can do in a day. Technology is a big part to play in that. E-mail, text, tweet and facebook post make you readily accessible to a population who are only too ready to take your time.
Time moving faster as we get older is of course a perception rather than a reality but it feels very real. This is because we have lost our sense of wonder. Two years in the life of a toddler can seem as long as the average retirement, almost twenty years because a two year old is seeing most things for the first time. Everything is new, exciting, challenging, rewarding, painful, funny and days stretch on filled with these experiences.
By the time we come to retire we’ve seen it, done it, bought the XXL T shirt and possibly the XX video. Little can shock, inspire, challenge or excite us. But if we want to see time slow down we should take a different mental attitude. Be prepared to see the wonder again in simple pleasures, no not necessarily hug your nearest conifer but try and recapture that childlike innocence and strip away the cynicism and explore.
That is of course a tough ask for many. By the time we hit our 30’s 40’s and certainly 50’s we’re pretty much set in our ways, in a groove that we’ve designed for ourselves. It’s comfortable, safe and secure. Change is threatening and offers a chance to fail which we have become programmed to resist at all costs.
As young children we didn’t understand the concept of time – no deadlines, appointments, 9 to 5 mentality – and we can’t now un think that conditioning but we can try and recapture the simplicity of life and observe some of the detail that can go whizzing past us on a busy day.
It starts with removing the self imposed and pestering time wasters that are often linked to the technology we use.
I’ve revisited an old time management book, put in place a few simple but very effective rules and started to appreciate how much time is truly wasted in any given day. Now I’m winning back time previously flushed away amongst groaning e-mail inboxes and must respond voicemails.
Taking back control of your working day is just the first step. What you do with that extra precious resource of time is the next.
Time to clock off, it’s time for play … 🙂
David Laud – firstname.lastname@example.org