The Secret to Success and Fulfillment in Work and Life

Jann FreedLeading Leave a Comment

This post is for anyone who wants to think about how to succeed in life and in work.


If I could save time in a bottle–Jim Croce

If only we could save time  in a bottle, but we can’t.  While we never know when our time will end, time is a democratic resource.  We all have 24 hours in a day.  It doesn’t matter if we are short/tall, rich/poor, blonde/brunette, male/female, America/Other.  It doesn’t matter if we have no children or a dozen.  There are only 24 hours in a day.  I used to say, “I wish with each child we would get 12 additional hours a day and with each pet, another six hours a day!”

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett often team up to give advice on success in life and in work.  According to them, time–and how we spend our time, is the most important resource we need to monitor.  But time management is a misnomer.  We don’t manage time.  We only manage our behaviors related to time.  So we need to have a clear understanding of how we are spending our time. As Warren Buffett famously said, “It’s the only thing you can’t buy. I mean, I can buy anything I want, basically, but I can’t buy time.”

Gates and Buffett say we should be monitoring our hobbies to determine if we are spending our time in ways that reap the highest rewards we want.  They recommend an “activity audit” to make sure we are spending time on hobbies with high returns and forego activities with low returns.  This article explains their audit in more detail and the payoff from recognizing which hobbies yield the highest returns.

Several years ago, Jim Collins said since we have a finite amount of time, we need to make a STOP DOING LIST and create a TO LEARN LIST.  We can only make time to learn something if we stop doing something else.  This is the reason we have not signed up for Netflix yet!  While I watch very little television, I love movies.  I am worried I would binge watch movie after movie and then I would not be reading and writing.

Author Robert MacFarlane said, “Before you become a writer, you must first become a reader. Every hour spent reading is an hour spent learning to write. This continues to be true throughout the writer’s life.” And I also love to write.

As stated by Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s business partner at Berkshire Hathaway, “I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time—none, zero,” Mr. Munger once said. “You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads—and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”

In the words of James Taylor, “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.”

How well are you spending time in ways that matter most to you?

How well are your habits yielding the high returns you desire?

What might be some things you need to STOP DOING in order to make time for things you want to be doing?