Time management Monday: Enjoy it

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Continuing on last week’s theme of why you do what you do, today’s post is a reminder to enjoy the journey.

All the productivity in the world is worthless if you don’t enjoy what you are doing. The point is not to get as much done as possible; the point is to live a life you enjoy and do things you value.

Of course a certain amount of non-enjoyable tasks are inevitable. The daily chores of life still have to be done. The point of productivity is to be able to get through the laundry, meetings and paying bills and still have enough time to do the things you really want to do.

What that is, you have to decide. But whatever it is, make sure you enjoy it.

Here’s a great example of productivity vs enjoyment:

While I was studying for my bachelor’s degree I worked as a veterinary assistant at a practice that had eight veterinarians. It was a great place to work, and all the vets were great at what they did.

But there was one vet, a man in his mid 30’s, who seemed to be in a bad mood constantly. Not with the clients; he was always friendly to the pet owners, and a caring veterinarian. He was a skilled surgeon and was great at his job. One day I finally asked someone why he seemed so angry all the time.

Turns out, he had always wanted to be a car mechanic, but his parents insisted he become a veterinarian. He hated every minute of it, and always wished he could have been a mechanic instead.

For anyone who isn’t aware, becoming a veterinarian is very time and labor intensive. You have to get good grades your whole life, complete a bachelor’s degree in pre-veterinary studies (if your university offers it) or a science like biology, then (if you get into veterinary school, which is extremely competitive) you study for four years to earn your Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, become licensed, then go on to internships, become certified in a specialty, etc. It’s not something you just kind of do. It’s really hard, and takes a long time and tons of self-discipline.

So this vet who seemed so miserable all the time was obviously great at productivity, but to what end? He was super-productive, but completely unhappy. With his work ethic and skill he could have worked to become anything he wanted. I’m sure he would have been an excellent mechanic.

But he listened to his parents, who by then were elderly and wouldn’t have influence over his life for much longer. He would spend his whole life doing something he hated, because someone else told him to. I moved away after a couple of years so I never found out any more. I hope he eventually decided to become a mechanic after all, but I’m guessing probably not.

My point is, your life is your own life. Yes you have to do chores and pay your bills on time. But find a way to do what you enjoy while you do those things. If you want to be a mechanic, go for it. And be the best darn mechanic you can be.

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