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Is It Really a Time Management Problem?

One common challenge presented by my clients is how to have more time to spend with family and friends. Many “successful” business owners and executives complain that they are so busy that they have little time to be with their wives, husbands, children, grandchildren, and friends. They tell me that there is just too much to do, and that if maybe they could learn to manage their time, they could be with their loved ones more often. Some express a deep regret and sense of loss. If that resonates with you, please take a moment right now and consider the following story.


One beautiful fall Wednesday afternoon, my wife invited me to go with her and the grandchildren to feed the ducks at a local lake. I had no scheduled appointments, no pending issues, and basically no apparent reason to keep me from going. So we gathered some stale bread, loaded up the kids, and headed for the lake. This lake is about a half-hour from our home (which also houses my office), and about halfway there I started to feel uncomfortable. How could I just leave the office in the middle of a work day and go for a leisurely unplanned walk at the lake? What customer was I neglecting? What other tasks were going undone? Then real panic set in as we turned into the parking area at the lake. I had no cell phone coverage! It was the middle of the workday, and my customers might call and need me and get voicemail!


I got out of the car and paced with my phone looking for a signal. My wife walked with our two grandkids over to the lake. They started to feed the ducks. Grandmama was happy. The grandchildren were laughing. The ducks were enjoying the snack, and the self-proclaimed Granddaddy of all granddaddies was miserable. Years of habit. I shouldn’t take off in the middle of the week and go feed ducks! I am being irresponsible! I should be at work! It’s 1:30 PM on a workday! Yada Yada Yada.


Then I hear the voice of my five-year old grandson asking “Granddaddy, are you going feed the ducks?”


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