The Psalmist's request (Ps. 90) that God would teach him to number his days has been rattling around in my thoughts of late.
So, I updated a counting exercise. If I have 10 years of working life left, working full-time with a balanced lifestyle, I calculate it as 250 days per year, at 10 hours per day. That comes to 25,000 hours of working life left, optimally.
It will not be more than that.
Let's say that I am among the most accomplished people at maintaining a state of flow - maximal, undistracted productivity. Neuroscientists seem to be saying that flow can be maintained, max, at about 4 hours hours per day. That means I might be able to sustain flow for perhaps 10,000 hours across the next ten years. All other waking hours are given to preparation, administration, reflection, rest, and some leisure, all of which contribute toward maximum alertness and benefit if I am thoughtful about how I use time.
Counting time like this, I sense just how valuable the time is for the Senior Executives I serve in Maestro-level leaders and in Executive Advising. That value is clear not just because they know the years diminish in front of them or because the matters we discuss are urgent. It is in their need to wisely frame up what is most important to work at because their decisions cascade down and affect others. This order of magnitude is matched by the productivity of their time (or lack of it), which immediately impacts the time and productivity of the ecosystems they steward.
For me, this means:
1. ) Each one to one I have with a Senior Executive is precious and sacred, as the person is precious and sacred.
2. ) The serious matters we consider need to be considered seriously. Their time, and mine, should not be wasted.
3. ) Any training I lead, or any level of conference I might help to plan, deserves this same level of intention.
The clock is ticking!