Get That Vacation Feeling Without The Time Off

Get That Vacation Feeling Without The Time Off

In this video, I talk about the luxury of time. We are constantly rushing. We want to feel like we have time to be productive. Sitting alone for ten minutes without doing anything feels like we have a life’s worth of time. How can we structure our lives in a way so that we feel like we have more time?

Transcript Highlights

Lauren Simonetti:
Imagine you had six months to travel. You could go wherever you wanted with whoever you wanted. What would you do and where would you go, and most importantly, what would you do if you had an abundance of time? My next guest, Peter Bregman, says the most precious experience we would get from living out that six month escape fantasy is available to us right here, right now, without the travel, although it doesn’t seem as glamorous. . . . So how do you have that vacation experience when you’re not on vacation?

Peter Bregman:
I think it’s a great question and it’s great the way you phrased it because I have a lot of friends who go – not a lot of friends, but some friends – who go off and they’ll spend several months a way as sort of a sabbatical. They all come back to me with the same insight, which is it almost didn’t matter where they went, what mattered was the fact that they felt this luxury of time. They felt like they didn’t have to rush from one place to another. They saw the world with new eyes. They saw each other, if they’re in a relationship or with their family, with new eyes.

The question is do we have to travel across the world and spend six months in a sabbatical to get that? The answer is no. The thing that people most enjoy from those experiences is available to us all the time. It’s this luxury of time and an abundance of time.

Lauren Simonetti:
All right, but I have seventy million things to do every day. I don’t have that time.

Peter Bregman:
Right, so what we have to do is whittle down those seventy thousand things. We’re constantly, I also am constantly rushing, and when we have a short experience, even ten minutes, of not doing anything, of literally not having anything to do – not checking email, not rushing around moving, not traveling, just sitting for ten minutes – it suddenly feels like we have a lifetime. The question is how can we structure our lives in a way that that feeling of an abundance of time is more readily available to us.

Lauren Simonetti:
Right, so it’s almost like you are permanently on vacation and permanently productive. So how do you stay productive?

Peter Bregman:
I suggest three things, three touchstones, three ways of beginning to un-clutter your life in a way that gives you that. The first is I always talk about choosing your top five. Choose five things that are most important for you to focus your time on. Maybe it’s quality time with your family, maybe it’s writing a book . . . Five things is a lot of things, but five major things. They should be work related and personal related. If you were going to only spend all of your time on five things . . . What would those top five things be? Choose them, define them, articulate them. I create a to-do list with six boxes and each of those five gets one box and the sixth box is for everything else . . .

[It’s about] [t]ime management. You really decide, “These are the things that are most important to me.” Let’s say for me, it’s spending time really growing my leadership school, it’s spending time writing a book, it’s spending time dealing with my clients and really giving great service to my current clients, it’s spending time with my family. These big buckets of things I want to spend most of my time.

Lauren Simonetti:
And you should spend 95% of your time in those five boxes.

Peter Bregman:
That’s exactly right. So that’s step two. 95% of your time should be spent on those things that are most important to you.

I keep my to-do list in those boxes so I can be certain that I’m not bleeding time into a whole bunch of other things.

Lauren Simonetti:
I want to know what’s in your box six.

Peter Bregman:
Nurturing myself and my family is box six. It’s doing great work with my current clients, writing my book, and also growing my business, growing the business from where it is, the leadership school and nurturing myself and my family.

Lauren Simonetti:
So the things that don’t go into any of those categories you say no to?

Peter Bregman:
Exactly.

Lauren Simonetti:
They’re not even on the to-do list?

Peter Bregman:
They’re not even on the to-do list. Well, there’s a box called the other 5%. That’s the sixth box – the other 5%. I put everything that doesn’t fit into those boxes in the other 5%. When I first started keeping a list like this, everything fit into the other 5% and I had nothing in the other boxes because we tend to procrastinate on the things that are most important to us. But, with the structure, I suddenly began to re-jigger and re-shift what I was doing. Then, when I’m spending time in that box, I’m saying “No thank you” to everything else. Suddenly, I’m really focusing on this one thing at a time and I have the luxury of time as I’m doing it.

Lauren Simonetti:
I love it.

Peter Bregman:
Yeah, it’s hard to whittle down. It’s not hard to decide what you want to focus your time on, it’s really hard to decide you’re not going to focus your time on the things that don’t add value to what’s most important to you. The gain of having the luxury of time is spending our time on the things that are most important to us.


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2 comments

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  • Beth April 30, 2014 Reply

    Great ideas! Isn’t having nurturing yourself a little dangerous in box 6? I would think that in the lifestyle of rushing and putting others’ needs first (work, family, etc.) that having self-care in the last box could lead to burn out. If you don’t put yourself in a “Top 5″ what happens to the Top 5 when you’re tapped out and aren’t getting to nurture yourself because it’s box 6?

    • Abdul Sattar Khan May 1, 2014 Reply

      I guess nurturing self is box 5, not 6. Look at this: Box 1: spending time really growing leadership school, Box 2: spending time writing a book, Box 3: spending time dealing with clients and really giving great service to current clients, Box 4: spending time with family. So, box 5 has to be for nurturing since box 6 is for other 5%.

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