Do you have “to dos” on your list forever, transferring them down the line for weeks or even months? I think we had ‘get our will notarized’ on my list for over a year before we finally got it done. Making insurance calls is another task that sits there waiting for me.
Who loves to call, wait on hold for an actual person for over an hour, get transferred three times and then your call drops or you are lucky enough to get a machine asking you to leave a message? I think I’d rather clean my oven.
What about finding time to do something you enjoy like go to the beach, watch the sunset, relax and read a book just because, or watch your child play? I find it at least as easy to leave out the enjoyable, quiet, and relaxing times as to avoid the dirty work. It seems so luxurious and indulgent to read while the work isn’t done. But, it is never done.
So, what is the solution? How can we make time to help others, get the nasty stuff done so it stops clogging up and haunting our lists, and also make time to care for ourselves and fully experience the depth and beauty of life, nature and our relationships?
I watched my daughter at the elementary school fair. She was in line for some cotton candy. She was older than most of the kids and so was being kind and letting them go ahead of her in line. It quickly became clear to me that at this rate she very literally would never get any. It was a whole school worth of children lining up, a never-ending supply. I appreciated this lesson she taught me with her “kindness” because it taught me something about mine: Taking a turn does not hurt anyone. If she had stayed in line, all the others would have had their turn as well. Her missing out did not help anyone.
This also taught me something about my method of prioritizing. In my mind, previously, I always thought in a constant, nearly solid prioritization ranking. When any two choices came up, I would compare their relative priority in my life. For example, if I could do something for my child or something for my neighbor, and these options were in conflict,
I’d take care of the child. Or, I’d rank them based on necessity—needs before wants sort of like an ER room ranks and helps people in order of severity. My mom calls it “putting out fires.”
What is wrong with that? Is it obvious to you? I couldn’t see it.
In business efficiency classes, I’ve been taught several different ways to eliminate unimportant things from my life. Eliminating unimportant things makes time for the critically urgent or important things. But these classes just don’t apply to my life. They never have. Because for one example, they said, eliminate answering the phone. Let someone else get that message for you so you can concentrate, etc. Well, guess whose job it was to answer the phones? Yes, mine! My job as the office manager was to take care of those urgent things so other people could concentrate. That is how it is for me at home as well. Even if you can, successfully, delegate the non-urgent interruptions and prevent a lot more, I noticed something:
We all need time for not urgent, unimportant things, because even these things become important if they are totally neglected. I could give you so many examples! I need balance and that means that sometimes I need a phone call with a friend just to chat and connect. Sometimes I need to draw with my kids just for fun. Sometimes we need a vacation to explore and think and feel alive. These “not urgent, “unimportant” things also need a turn. If they stay stuck at the bottom of the list, it is certain death—like my daughter, there will be no cotton candy. Whatever is at the bottom of the list does only one thing, fall off.
I’ve decided I can not leave them out. Everything needs a turn. There will always be problems and surprises that rearrange our best intentions, but if every priority takes a turn on top, it won’t be procrastinated forever. Time won’t always run out for that particular thing, and it won’t continue to mock me at the bottom of the list.
It is so simple, but so powerful.
Like in volleyball, take turns in positioning.
Figure out your true priorities, all of them, and then — Rotate.
DarEll S. Hoskisson
DarEll S. Hoskisson loves to do hard things, but not too hard. She shares her own challenges, goals and experiences as she guides you into a realistic path of self-reflection and self-improvement. She shares tips on how to find, know and trust yourself so you can decide if other’s suggestions are right for you. DarEll has the world a little upside down—where work is play and play is work. She actually thinks other people’s problems are fun to try to solve and lights up with a personal challenge. She loves people, harmony, and excellence. She also loves useful things like tools and ideas that make work faster, easier and more fun. DarEll married in 1993 and graduated from BYU (1995) with a bachelor’s degree in English and Secondary Education. Since then she was adopted by 5 children and has worked with many non-profits. She is currently a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor—leading pilates and yoga at her local YMCA. DarEll lives in Florida where she enjoys her family, nature, her work, and encouraging people to live well. She periodically posts her poems, what she is learning, and service opportunities on her personal blogs: https://personalabridgements.wordpress.com and https://darellhoskisson.wordpress.com