“Seize the Day! – a moto for overly busy executives!”

In 1989 I watched the film “Dead Poets Society” starring Robin Williams and my life was never the same again. That may seem a little over the top but there are just a handful of really good films that have left a lifelong impression on me and this is in the top three next to Star Wars IV and Terminator. It was in this movie that I first heard the phrase ‘Carpe Diem – seize the day’ and have probably watched this movie a dozen or more times over the years.

I have spent my working years in management positions from 21 years old and have struggled with how to make the best use of the time in a day. I have tried every seminar, planning tools, calendars and more recently apps on my phone, computer and tablet to squeeze every second out of the day in a vain effort to ‘Seize the Day’. It continued elude me how others could accomplish so much more in 24 hours and their secret kept eluding me.

It finally came to me that in all my busyness trying to keep up I had forgotten the basic principles of planning. The following is a quick checklist that helped me to make sense of how to best use the time I have in a day.

1) Prioritize – what will bring the highest reward

2) Plan your time – or it will be planned for you

3) File for the future – out of sight, out of mine, easy to find

4) Learn to say NO – or lose control of your day forever

5) Delegate – with wisdom and accountability

6) Eliminate – Decide what to do – Do it without delay – Decide what not to do – Don’t do it without feeling guilty

7) Simplify – confusion, disorganization and complexity increases stress unnecessarily

8) Steal 1 hour per day – start an hour earlier before the others and you will be able to finish earlier with more accomplished

In my career I have worked in many different fields and the years I spent as the director of addiction treatment programs introduced me to the Serenity Prayer. I came across a variation on this prayer that is perfect for busy executives…

“God grant me the serenity to prioritize the things I cannot delegate, the courage to say NO when I need to, and the wisdom to know when to GO home.”

With that in mine give yourself a break today from busyness and begin to truly seize the day based on what is really important to move forward your goals both personal and business. Go Seize the Day!


  • Larry Scarbeau is a community leader with over 35 years’ experience working with communities across Canada on issues related to poverty, homelessness and community development. Larry has worked with clients from the non-profit sector, the private sector and several Alberta municipal and provincial governments. His many years in the non-profit field have provided him with a wide range of experience across Alberta including the creation of several frontline housing projects that he led the construction and program development for in the Edmonton region. His major accomplishment resulted from his leadership of the Alberta Secretariat for Action on Homelessness that developed the provincial 10-year plan to end homeless, A Plan for Alberta, that received approval from the Alberta Government in 2009 as the provinces policy in addressing homelessness. He is a dedicated community leader who understands the critical housing issues facing seniors, low income families and single adults and the root causes of homelessness. He is known for his successful implementation of programs based on best practices and his focus on getting measurable results, addressing concerns of stakeholders and managing change. He has provided leadership to several successful projects, small and medium sized organizations and has strong people management skills. He is known for getting results that meet or exceed expectations that are delivered on time and on budget. His major focus now is helping people enjoy the safety and security of affordable housing to create a healthy home for families struggling with limited resources. He is also passionate about coaching others to become leaders who make a difference in the lives of the people they serve. He is most proud of his three adult children and 5 wonderful grandchildren. Larry is a model train hobbyist, aspiring golfer and DIY enthusiast.