In a previous post I wrote about mixing business and pleasure. And, many times, there are ways to do this by just adding a few hours to a business trip, or spending a little personal money. One can plan ahead or sometimes, serendipitously find something of interest. But, you must be tuned into the idea of “taking it when you can get it.” One of my life changing events occurred when I was invited on a cruise of Sydney Harbour a few days after arriving there for graduate school. The couple who invited me have been lifelong friends after “adopting” me that year. I was offered a chance, and I took it. Other times while working you have to seize opportunities when they present themselves. Recently we had several cases settle or postpone leaving a gap in our schedule. We had to move quickly, but were able to get away on an unplanned vacation for 10 days in Germany. It has taken us many years to recognize and act on such an opportunity; as Steve Winwood sang, “when you see a chance take it…” The idea of acting spontaneously takes longer for some people to actualize than others. But why not? What are you waiting for?
Although neither my spouse/business partner or I are spontaneous, carefree types, over the years we have had a lot of unexpected down time at work that has led us to re-prioritize our personal time. Most of the activities in which we engage during our personal times are planned well in advance; attending rock concerts, for example, requires tickets to be purchased months before the show. On the rare occasion when we are left with no work to do, due to cancellations or postponements, we have learned to “make lemonade out of lemons.” We are disappointed not to have the work from the cancelled project, and the income it would have produced, but instead of moping about our bad fortune, we look around and see if there is anything fun that can fill the void in our schedule. Recently, we lost a substantial amount of work due to circumstances beyond our control. I looked at the schedule of upcoming concerts and noticed that Bob Dylan would be nearby on the exact date we had planned to be working. So, instead of conducting a focus group, we went to the Bob Dylan concert. What a fantastic way to fill our suddenly open date! The point of this is that it is up to us to use our time in the best way we can, regardless of whether we have long term plans or something changes at the last minute. We choose to live our lives to the fullest!