The phrase “carpe diem” has been quoted by many authors, but it was Lord Byron’s quote “I never anticipate, – carpe diem – the past at least is one’s own, which is one reason for making sure of the present” in his 1817 work ‘Letters’ published in 1830 by Thomas Moore, which popularized the phrase in the English language.
Carpe diem means to seize the day, which translates to making the most of the available time you have in the day. This applies to both your work life and personal life. By focusing your time on the activities that will provide the greatest value or outcome, ensures that you maximize the use of your time. Generally 20% of the activities you engage in yield 80% of the value or outcomes you desire. It is therefore obvious that we should be focusing on the 20% high value-added activities. However, this is not always as easy as it seems. While we may be working on the high value activities, we may periodically become distracted with lower value activities or other people’s activities that may not necessarily be high value on our own agenda.
As we grow older time seems to pass much faster, therefore we must make every day count. Benjamin Franklin in his book “The Way to Wealth” stated that, “Once we waste time it’s gone. There’s no way to get it back“. What this means for me is that we must invest time rather than spend time.
Therefore how can we make better use of our remaining time on Earth? Following are some of my thoughts that can provide a much richer experience and also possibly extend the available time you have:
- Invest quality time with family and friends
- Exercise regularly, by simply walking or riding a bicycle
- Eat healthy foods
- Remove the physical and mental clutter from your life
- Free yourself from the things that are holding you back
- Be the best you can be in anything you do
- Read books that stimulate your thinking, knowledge and creativity
- Make a list of the important things that you have been putting off and start working on them today
- Plan your time wisely to focus on the high value activities
- Take immediate action – “Just do it!” and “leave procrastination for another day“
Carpe diem can also mean to seize the opportunities that present themselves or that you create. A prepared and open mind will be able to identify opportunities that could transform into the next new product, service or business opportunity. One approach to identifying opportunities involves capturing new ideas and recording them into an ideas journal, which provides the means to further process the ideas into new concepts or applications. Everyone has the ability to identify opportunities, however some people do it better than most. Identifying and seizing opportunities requires the development of your creativity, thinking and implementation skills.
I encourage you to seize the day, maximise the value in your available time and capture the opportunities in your work and personal life.
Dr John Kapeleris