I’ve been asking myself a simple question lately that has helped me to live a more focused and purposeful life.
Here is the question: Is now the right time for this?
The idea behind the question is that if we want to live a focused and purposeful life, we should be engaging each part of our day with intention. In other words, we should be doing things at the right time, for the right reasons.
Wrong Time, Wrong Reason
Here’s an example: I woke up in the middle of the night and was hungry, so I walked to the kitchen to get a snack. I saw my iPhone on the kitchen counter, and I was tempted to pick it up and check my email. Is now the right time for this? No, it’s 3 o’clock in the morning. It’s time to go back to sleep, not to work. Checking my email can wait until tomorrow.
Another example: A few nights ago, I was on a date with my wife. I had to go to the bathroom, and as I stood at the urinal, I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket and started to check Facebook. Is now the right time for this? No, I look like an idiot with my phone out at the urinal. Checking Facebook can wait.
Right Time, Right Reason
Is it bad to check email? No, it’s an important part of my job. But the right time for me to check email is when I’m working. Is it bad to check Facebook? No, lots of people like to use social media to wind down and relax. But the right time for me to check Facebook is when I’m trying to wind down and relax.
Action Step: Throughout your day today, pay attention to your behaviors. For each one, ask yourself: Is now the right time for this? If the answer is no, stop what you’re doing, and adjust your behavior to something more appropriate for the time and place.