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Keeping Death In Mind

March 10, 2010. Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Late morning.

I pulled on my swim trunks, trainers, and a tank top and walked out of my little guesthouse room, sliding through the cramped restaurant strewn with tables, and out into the hot, dusty air of Phnom Penh. It's a hot day. It'll be good to swim after lifting weights.

I said, "No no, thank you" to the tuk-tuk drivers offering to take me somewhere in the city, pushed through the little crowd, and out onto the street. The streets in Cambodia more resemble alleyways than streets, and I navigate around people and vehicles.

I went down to the end of the street, turned left, and skirted along close to the local restaurants, half-tent half-storefront type places to get food. I stepped into the crosswalk, the Hotel Cambodiana rising in front of me. I check right and then left, and I watch left as I cross, watching for oncoming traffic.

A loud scream rings out. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

What do you want to do each day? (168 hours lessons)

On Mike Dariano

This is part one of my comments about 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think. You can read my overall review of the book - which I very much liked - here.

Here's a question you may not have asked yourself recently: What do you want to do during your workday?

One theme throughout the book and might be the only idea you really need to focus on is having an active thought about what you want to do each day. Do you want a clean house? To play with your kids? Professionally do you want to get a big project done at work, avoid infighting This part of the book reminded me of the Cheshire Cat responding to Alice that it doesn't really matter what path you take if you don't care where you want to go.

Creating a list of what you want to do though is really hard and especially so when you're in the middle of a day. Just the other day both of my daughters were playing very nicely together in the basement and I had finished washing the dishes from lunch and everything was ready for dinner. The floors had been swept but could have been mopped - our floors could always be mopped - and the bathrooms cleaned but neither were too dirty. And I didn't have anything to do. I can't remember what I did but it probably consisted of Facebook, Twitter, Instapaper, repeat. I needed structure so that I could work towards things.

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