You Can Always Find Time – It's How You Use It That Counts

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

It’s Monday, and you know what that means. Bouncing out of bed, eyes aglow with anticipation, and a protein smoothie to start the day. Yeah. That’s how my day starts. Don’t ask my wife, just take my word for it. Okay, okay. It’s more like slumping out of bed, eyes half-shut, feet trudging, and six extra cups of coffee. If you’re lucky, that’ll keep you awake till the 10:00 meeting.

But let me ask you this. What did you do over the weekend that was so much better than Monday? Be honest. You did laundry, you went grocery shopping, you cleaned the house, you watched reruns of movies you didn’t even watch twenty years ago, and you yelled at the kids for not “enjoying” the weekend as much as you. Are their rooms clean yet? I rest my case.

Don’t get me wrong. I know some people who live it up on the weekend. Alcohol may or may not be involved, but they don’t waste a minute bemoaning the fact that it’s only two days long. There are places to go, people to see, and things to do. Fun things. And guess what? The whole time they’re out of the house, the mess isn’t getting a bit worse. Unless they have a cat. Cats love to mess things up.

These are the people who spend a few hours during the week doing the stuff that seems to consume an entire weekend for the rest of us. They pick up a few things around the house, run a vacuum cleaner, wash a load of laundry, and do the grocery shopping before Friday. Then, when the weekend comes, they have all kinds of time to sit around and complain that there’s nothing to do.

Okay, let’s keep this in perspective. First of all, if they’re like most of us, they pick things up and pile them in a closet. They keep the kids off the carpet while they’re running the vacuum so they can track in stuff from the other rooms as soon as it’s done. They wash a load of laundry, forget to throw it in the dryer, then wash it again tomorrow (and the next day). And, like, grocery shopping is EVER done?

This is why for most of us, as soon as we think of something we’d like to accomplish, that built-in excuse pops up like a Jack-in-the-box. “I don’t have time!” We like that one. It can be used in any situation, whether it’s cleaning the garage, planting flowers, writing a book, or drying the clothes we just washed. We’re just too busy. “Woe is me! You have no idea how little time I’ve got!”

Well, get over yourself. We all get 168 hours each week. Except that one week in March when we only get 167 hours, and boy do we love to complain about that one. We’ll milk that lost hour for a whole week. “You don’t understand. I’m tired enough as it is, and then to lose an hour of sleep in the middle of the weekend?” Funny, we sure don’t make up for it in November. “It’s too cold!”

If there’s something you really want to do, you’ll make time for it. Whether that means an hour here and there through the week, or eight hours on the weekend. You rearrange, you set things aside, you turn off the TV, and prioritize what’s most important. And you do it for one simple reason – there’s something you want more than to spend the rest of your life complaining about short weekends.

All it takes is a goal – a vision of something more pleasant than two days of whining about how tired you are as you catch up on all the other things you couldn’t find time for during the week. Whether that vision is as simple as two days of curling up with a good book, or as ambitious as retiring to the beach twenty years early, it’s not hard to find something worthy of that extra hour in the evening.

Excuses come easy when there’s something we really don’t want to do. Oh, we want the result – just not the effort that goes into it. So, here’s my challenge for the week. Find something you want. Focus on it. Get pictures. Then see if you can find one hour in the evenings to do something about it. If you want something badly enough, the time is there. It’s how you use that time that counts.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Time Is What You Make Of It

Good morning, and happy Friday!  I hope your day is off to a nice start.

It’s been a busy week on my end. Not busy in the sense that you would normally think, but sometimes it’s all about perspective. For some people, getting out of bed every morning is productive. I’ve made a little more progress than that, so I guess I can’t complain. At least I haven’t had to shovel snow (or pick up frozen lizards out of the yard). Yeah, that last one was a news story that caught my eye.

I did have a job interview this week that went really well. I’m sure at least a dozen other who applied for that job felt the same, but they have room for a few of us, so I guess we’ll find out. Meanwhile, I’ve been doing some cleaning in my basement which, over the years, has become the collection area for everything nobody wants to mess with right now and is unwilling to throw away.

Some people take time off from work just to stay home and catch up on things like this. I’ve never liked working vacations, so I let the company set this one up for me. And, since I don’t have the option to go to work each morning, it’s a good time to get caught up on all those things I didn’t do before because I was too busy working.

Notice I didn’t say all those things I couldn’t do … didn’t and couldn’t are two different things. We always love to say we can’t do something because we don’t have the time. But let somebody suggest a movie, or invite you to card night, and suddenly time isn’t so much of an issue. Time can pretty much materialize any time we want it. And if it doesn’t, we find ways to bend it.

Here’s a question I ask people a lot. Think of someplace you’d love to go on vacation – someplace really nice. And not just for a few days, but for a couple of weeks. Now, if the boss were to come to  you and say, “Give me an extra 7 hours every week – split it up any way you want, but it has to be 7 hours – and I’ll pay for that vacation,” would you do it?

Everybody I’ve asked has said absolutely, they’d put in the extra time. Notice, we didn’t say what the boss wants you to do for those 7 hours each week. Maybe he needs somebody to clean toilets. Maybe he needs somebody to make sales calls. Maybe he needs somebody to demo products. But not one person has even asked that question. For 7 hours a week, they’d do pretty much anything.

Yet, when I ask those same people if they’ve ever considered starting a side business, the number one excuse is, “I just don’t have the time.” Okay, let me get this straight. You can find 7 hours every week for the boss, but you can’t find time to do something for yourself, something that could someday buy a vacation home instead of just a two-week visit?

Part of the issue is that we tend to trust our employers more than we trust ourselves. That money is pretty much guaranteed. You know, until they say, “You’ve done a great job, but we just don’t need you anymore.” Now I have all the time in the world to build a business. Yet, I’ve spent most of that time dawdling around the house, reading, and working on a few freelance assignments.

Stepping out on your own takes courage. There’s a risk involved. That risk may be financial, and it may be personal. You might have to buy some equipment, tools, or inventory. You might have to invest in a website. You may have to spend a little on advertising. But, for the most part, you can manage those costs and thereby minimize the risk. There are businesses you can start for less than $100.

But the real fun starts when you tell your family and friends about your new venture. “Are you serious? That’ll never work!” Ever heard of a man named Gary Dahl? In 1975, he came up with the idea of putting a rock in a box with straw bedding and breathing holes, and selling them for $4. You think people laughed at the idea of a pet rock? Absolutely. Gary Dahl laughed all the way to the bank.

If a man can become a millionaire, almost overnight, selling imaginary pets disguised as a rock, there’s not much you can’t do to make a little extra money yourself. Maybe not a million dollars, but would a few hundred a month make a difference? Would it pay for that vacation you for which you’d gladly invest 7 hours a week?

Invest those 7 hours in yourself. Don’t tell me the time just isn’t there. You just haven’t looked. But if you find that time and use it to your own advantage, a vacation may be just the beginning of the great things you can do.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2020 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

How's Your "Year in Review"?

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

I’ve missed you folks these past few days. I’d like to say it was an intentional hiatus. I could tell you it was because of the holidays. You know, I was so busy wrapping gifts and recovering from a night of reveling. I could blame it on an old war injury if I’d actually been in a war. But the truth is, I’ve just been sick. Yes, I know. I never get sick. I even told my body that. It talked back.

Last night was the first time in eight nights that I’ve slept without waking up coughing. We’re talking the kind of coughing that wakes up the whole house and brings up stuff that would give a catfish the dry heaves. By the time morning came, I was just in a complete fog. My writing at that point wouldn’t have been any better than my driving. Just ask anybody who was on the road with me.

Thanks to a combination of antibiotics, cough medicine, Earl Grey tea, and a little bourbon (it’s Mom’s old recipe), I’m on the road to recovery. I can’t carry a bath towel up the stairs without wheezing, but I’m getting there. Maybe that’s because, in addition to the bath towel, I have to carry this belly up the stairs as well. But I’d rather blame it on the towel. Don’t argue with me. It’s my story.

The new year is nearly upon us. Turn on the news, and there’s a “year in review” story on nearly every channel. Disasters of 2019. Celebrity losses in 2019. Heroes of 2019. Tweets of 2019. Okay, I made that last one up. We all know it would take all of 2020 to recap that one. But you get the idea. It’s a time of year when we reflect on all that’s happened in the past year.

And, if you watch any of those segments, you find yourself thinking, “That was this year???” Time has a way of disguising itself, along with a lot of the emotion and details of the events it encompasses. You know, like those New Year’s resolutions we made. “That was this year???” There’s a reason we don’t write those things down. We don’t want to be reminded how incredibly naïve we really are.

We also don’t like to be reminded of things left undone. You know, like the baseboard trim in my living room … from the reflooring job I did with my own two hands. It looks incredible. It’s hard to believe it’s held up so well over the years. Fourteen years to be exact. And it’s not that I couldn’t afford the trim. It’s been sitting in my garage acclimating to the ambient humidity. For fourteen years.

By noon tomorrow, I’ll be at least temporarily unemployed. My bosses have decided I did such a good job they no longer need me. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. So, while I wait for something else to open up, I have to sit around the house and be reminded of all the things I never got around to. That’s my punishment for being so good on the job. Woe is me.

Funny, I haven’t even posted this yet and I can already hear some of you chuckling in agreement. The fact is, we all have things we’ve meant to get around to and just never did it. Maybe not big things, and maybe not something as simple as baseboard trim that’s been collecting dust for over a decade. But life just gets in the way, and it seems some things never get done.

That’s why we need to prioritize. What’s most important to you? Make a list of things you’d like to get done, and then decide which ones need to be done first. But don’t set aside the ones that are just for you. Those are important as well. How important? Only you can answer that. If it’s something you can do a little at a time, get started. You may not get it all done this year. But think how much closer you’ll be.

I’ve often said my weight loss journey is a victim of my own impatience. The doctor says lose one pound a week, and I say at that rate, it’ll take me two years. Well, guess what? If I’d started two years ago, I’d be there.

It’s that way with most of the things you’d like to accomplish. Do what you can – a little here and a little there. It may take a while, but maybe your 2020 “year in review” will have a few more wins. And then just think of the fun you can have in 2021.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

It’s All a Matter of Perspective

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a great start.

I woke up later this morning than normal. Sometimes the old body just needs a little more rest before the day can start. Know the feeling? The only problem is, the clock never seems to get tired. It just keeps running and running and running. This far into the 21st century, you’d think we could figure out a way to fix that.

Time is the one constant in life that never really changes. Okay, aside from twice a year when we get the directive to change our clocks, but time itself doesn’t change as a result. All that changes is the way we measure it. “I got an extra hour of sleep this weekend!” No, you didn’t. You woke up at the same time you always do. Only this time, you were an hour early. There’s no snooze button for that.

As with most things in life, time is subjective. Sure, there are officially 24 hours in a day, and there are 60 minutes in each hour. And if your favorite show comes on in an hour, that’s a measurable span of time. But remember when you were little and your mom would say, “In a minute”? Hmmm. Now we’re getting into a gray area. Is that sixty seconds, or sometime in the next hour?

It’s the same with a lot of things. “I did a really good job on that!” Well, in your opinion. Hopefully everybody else will agree, but there’s always that one person who can spot a flaw in anything, no matter how well it was done. Sometimes you’d like to smack them so hard the only thing they can spot are the little stars swirling around inside their own judgmental head.

It’s like the scene in Christmas Vacation where, after several frustrating attempts and life-endangering mishaps, Clark finally gets his display of 250,000 outdoor lights to illuminate. As he dances around in excitement, tears of joy streaming down his face, his father-in-law casually comments, “The little lights aren’t twinkling, Clark.” “Yes, I know Art. And thank you for noticing.”

But in a world where very few things are cut and dried, we all have to find our own meaning in things that are a little more subjective. How long is a moment? How much is a little bit? How soon is right away? And how good is pretty good? It pretty much depends on who’s asking. Tell your kid you’ll take them to the amusement park “one of these days” and to them that means tomorrow.

A couple of days ago, I got an email from an RV dealer offering an unbelievably low price on a motorhome we’ve had our eyes on. It was a little over $50,000 off the list price. Who can turn down an offer like that? That’s a huge savings! But, then there’s the matter of what’s left after that deep discount. And, any way you slice it, it’s still a lot of money.

But what’s “a lot of money?” It’s different from one person to the next. What’s “a lot of work”, or “too much time?” Again, it depends who’s asking because it’s all a matter of perspective. One person may say, “That’ll take four hours!” while another says, “I can have it done in no time!” Neither one is any faster than the other. It’s all in how they view the time compared to the reward.

Tell somebody you’re doing something grand, like buying an RV or starting a business, and you’ll get all kinds of opinions. Everything ranging from how much money you’ll spend to how much time it’ll take and how hard you’ll have to work. To some people, getting off the sofa to get a drink of water is just too much effort. But to another, a year of working late every evening is well worth the effort.

You have to find your own level of “worth” in all things. Is $10 too much to pay for lunch? Is 5 miles too far to drive for ice cream? Is an hour a day too much time to spend working toward a dream you’d desperately love to achieve? To one person, the answer to any of those questions is yes. But only you can decide what something is worth to you. You only get one chance to live your own life. Make it count.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Take Life at Your Own Pace – You’ll Enjoy the Ride a Lot More

Good morning, and happy Hump Day! I hope your day is off to a great start.

In yesterday’s post, we talked about making the most of our time. Normally, that presents an image of somebody who’s up and running, working from morning till night, cramming something into every minute of their day. And for some people, that works. It suits their personality and gives them energy to do even more. But there are times when we need to slow down and just appreciate the world around us.

The movie Dirty Dancing has been on several times lately. I think the program directors in some of these broadcast stations pick three or four movies for the month and just put them on a loop. During the holidays, there are a few that’ll completely dominate the airwaves. “Hey kid – you’re gonna put “your eye out!” (That was strictly for those of you who love “A Christmas Story.”)

At the end of Dirty Dancing, the owner of an exclusive summer retreat comments that kids don’t want to go to camp with their parents and take foxtrot lessons. “Trips to Europe – 14 countries in three days!” I actually remember a time when travel agencies offered such trips. It sounds like fun until you think about what that means. “Get back on the bus!  We’ve got a schedule to keep!”

When I was in the Navy, we made a port visit to Naples, Italy. I really wanted to see Rome, so I bought a tour ticket. It was only $20 and included everything from the train ride to a full day of sightseeing in one of the world’s oldest cities. I was really looking forward to it.

But at the time, I had a real problem with oversleeping. I couldn’t wake up on time if my life depended on it. And, as luck would have it, I overslept that day. By the time I woke up, the tour had already departed. I was heartsick. I had breakfast and reluctantly decided to go ashore for another day of walking, cheap wine, spaghetti, and negotiating with street vendors for cheesy souvenirs.

But I still had that burn – I wanted to see Rome. So, I went to the USO and asked about getting there. They told me which train to take and suggested taking bus 61 to the USO in Rome, where I could get a map of the city and see the sights on my own. And I had a day I’ll never forget. I didn’t get to see everything I wanted, but I saw most of it.

At the end of the day, as the tour group was on the train headed back to Naples, I was sitting in St. Peter’s Square watching the sun go down. It was the most peaceful moment of my entire life. Sitting at the base of the Vatican Obelisk, a tall spire that likely inspired the Lincoln Memorial, I was captivated by a feeling of complete ease. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

I was on the move most of the day, simply because there were so many things to see. But I got to see them at my own pace, taking time when I wanted and moving on when I was good and ready. Luckily, bus 61 ran past most of them. And as I think of that day, it stands in complete contrast to the stressed bustle of attempting to see 14 countries in three days.

When we talk about making the most of our time, it doesn’t mean we have to be on the move all day. Sure, you make hay while the sun shines, or so it’s been said. But there’s something to be said for quietly enjoying what’s around us as we plan what we want to do next. It’s hard to focus on your dreams when you’re up to your elbows in work. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is slow down.

It’s in those moments of quiet reflection that we’re able to think more clearly and visualize not only what’s right in front of us, but what we want it to be. It’s a lot easier to imagine a life on the ski slopes while you’re relaxing on a beach than in the middle of your best day at work. Find those quiet moments and let your mind take you where you want to be. When you know the destination, you’re already halfway there.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Don’t Wait For Time to Come to You – Reach Out and Grab It

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a nice start.

Last night, I got together with some close friends for a weekly business meeting. We’re a supportive group, and when one of us has a special need, we set aside some time to rally around them in prayer. Such was the case last night. One is in the hospital battling recurrent cancer, and we were able to give her a call and let her know we’re all thinking about her. Sometimes, it’s the little things that count.

As I drove home, I thought about how in all this talk of dreams and goals, what is the one thing she would want most right now? I doubt it would be anything material, though she did mention she’s keeping her eyes open for single doctors.

But my guess is that if you were to ask her for the one thing she wants most, it would be time. Not necessarily more time to live – for all I know, she may outlive every one of us. But I would bet that she’d like to have more time to enjoy the things she enjoys most – family, friends, travel, adventure, and maybe even a little more quiet time at home. We all need these things more than we may know.

And as I draw closer to the age of retirement, time is a lot more important than it once was. Again, not necessarily time to live, because I don’t plan on checking out any time soon. But I do look forward to having the time to enjoy my family, to play with the kids, to take my wife to some of the countries I’ve seen, and when the mood strikes, to just enjoy quiet time at home.

I remember watching a documentary years ago about a professional stock investor. He earned a seven-figure income by knowing exactly when to buy and sell certain stocks. And, because a stock exchange is always open somewhere in the world, he literally worked around the clock. All through the night, he would be awakened to a phone call advising him of price changes on a particular stock.

I remember thinking, sure, he’s a lot wealthier than I’ll ever be, but who wants to live like that? Hopefully at some point he’ll take a step back and enjoy the income he’s built, but when you work like that every day it becomes more than a job – it’s who you are. It’s what you do, not because you have to or even because you want to, but because it’s the way you’ve conditioned yourself to live.

Of course, any doctor would tell you that working like that is a quick way to put yourself in an early grave. Yet most of us, to a large degree, do the very same thing. We may not have a have people calling at all hours, asking us to make snap decisions in a fog of sleepiness that could affect our portfolio (and that of our investors) by several million dollars. But we do put a heavy emphasis on work.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but what are you working for? Are you working just to pay the bills? Are you working because you want a new car? Are you working because your parents made you? Or are you working to reach a point in life when you can slow down a bit and have time to enjoy the things you’re working for?

Time is one of our most valuable commodities. And yet, we spend very little time doing the things we enjoy. Our days are mostly spent working, whether that’s on a paid job or taking care of things around the house – cleaning, laundry, repairs, lawn care, getting the kids ready for school, and all those other things that consume our day. What little time is left is spent sleeping so we can do it all again tomorrow.

And then comes that day when we don’t have to do all those things anymore. The kids are grown, we downsize into a condo where somebody else takes care of all the maintenance and yard work, and we can finally carve out a little time to do the things we want. Only now, our bodies make some of those decisions for us. We know what we’d like to do – we just can’t actually do it.

Time is not a renewable resource. You get one shot to get it right. If there’s something you want to do, a burning desire that just won’t go away, make it happen. Don’t wait for a better day, or until somebody else tells you it’s time. Because when that day comes, all the money and possessions you’ve accumulated won’t replace the time it took to get there.

We all get 168 hours each week and no amount of money will change that. So, change what you can. Make time work for you. It’s the one thing you have that nobody can take away. Make it count.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

There Will Only Be One “Today”

Good morning! I hope your day is off to a fantastic start.

Well, it’s a new month and, for those of us in the US who just got a badly needed holiday, it’s the beginning of a new (and slightly shortened) week. I love three-day weekends. I just don’t necessarily love the four days at work that follow. I’ve always said that when you get to skip a Monday, you get four more to make up for it. Hopefully this week will be the exception.

I don’t know why we dread Mondays so much. Yes, it means the end of the weekend and heading back to work. But, if we did the weekend even slightly right, we’re going back somewhat rested and refreshed. If not, we may want to take a closer look at how we spend our weekends. But the point is, this should be the time of week when we’ve got the most energy for a day at work.

It’s also the time when we’ve got the most leftover energy to tackle some of our own goals. If there’s anything you’ve been planning to do for yourself outside of work, earlier in the week is generally better. Not only do you have more energy, but if things don’t work out one day, you still have a few more to go. The later we get into the week, the fewer chances we’ll have to do those things.

We go to work every day. We don’t really even question it, because that’s just the way it is. We can say we don’t have a choice in the matter, but we do. It just comes down to priorities. And over the course of our lives, few things will take a higher priority than work. If you don’t believe me, quit. Better still, just try to imagine it. Some things are better experienced in the mind.

There have been a few times in my life when I was unemployed. Like the time I found out my job was seasonal, but nobody had explained that little detail in the beginning. As a contract employee, you learn to plan for the inevitable “job’s done – thanks!” And the last time, it was because the company hired a new CEO who decided to cut our division completely. It happens.

And when it does, you immediately kick into high gear looking for something else. You think back to all those positions you’d applied for in the past and quickly check to see if they’re hiring. You put your resume on the job boards and check your email several times a day. Meanwhile, you look for any little thing you can do to cut expenses and bring in just a little bit of income to hold you over.

It’s amazing how creative and energetic we can be when the need is there. And the more urgent the need, the more we try to take advantage of every possible opportunity at our disposal. Then we find a new job and that first paycheck arrives. Whew! That was a close one! Now you can breathe a little easier and get back to normal. If you’ve ever been in that position, you know exactly what I mean.

The only problem is, “normal” isn’t exactly the best place to be. Because normal means you’re back in the same position you were in previously. You may have a better, more secure job with lots of room for growth. But at the end of the day, you’re still entrusting your financial well-being on somebody else’s ability and willingness to keep you employed.

Now, let me ask you a question. If you found yourself suddenly looking for a new job, or just needing an immediate inflow of extra money, would you prefer to wait until the need is there to do something about it? Or do you think maybe you’d want to keep your eyes open to new opportunities while things are going well? You know, think about the solution before the need arises.

If there’s something you want to do for yourself, don’t let opportunities slip by. If a rainy day will get in the way, take advantage of the sunny days. If you know other things will eventually consume your time, work around them. Take care of your own priorities now, before those other things demand your attention.

There are seven days in a week. Nothing we can do will ever change that. And every time we let a day or even a moment of opportunity slip past, it’s gone. Make the most of those opportunities now and when other things get in the way, you’ll be that much further ahead.

Today will be over before you know it. And there may come a point where you’ll look back at today and wish you’d spent that time more wisely. If that’s even a remote possibility, do something about it now. There will always be other priorities and demands on your time. You can’t change that. All you can change is what you do with each moment along the way.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved