ZigOn The Main Thing

The refrain most often heard in the media, in private conversations and correspondence, is "I apologize for not getting back sooner, but I've been so busy..."

The question is, are we really busier than we've ever been? In reality, based on what 10,000 people recorded in their hour-by-hour time diaries, Americans, on the average, have 40 hours a week of discretionary time which they can invest as they please. This is more than they had 30 years ago and five hours more than they had in 1975.

The basic problem is that today we have so many options as to how we spend our leisure time that we jump from one activity to another, never spending any significant amount of time doing the one thing which would actually bring us more enjoyment. Combine that with the fact that today our evaluation of the importance of leisure time has gone up substantially. A (poll in) U.S. News & World Report showed that 49% of Americans (as versus 28% in 1986) believe that society needs to stop emphasizing work and put more value on "free time."

I'm convinced that much of this feeling is because we have lost our ability to concentrate on what we're doing. Many people while on the job spend too much time thinking about their home life and when they're at home they spend too much time thinking about their jobs. It's impossible to completely focus on the job for eight hours, your mind naturally moves to other things. But you need to "keep the main thing the main thing," and while you're at work, your work is the main thing. When you're at home, family is the main thing. Over a period of time you can bring your thought life under control, which enables you to be more effective on the job and happier at home. That's a good combination and it's a good approach to take.