Am I the only one that has a list a mile long of things to do, things I want to do, things I need to do, things other people need me to do, things I should do, things I should stop doing, things I should do differently??????
Yeah, I thought so!
My list has a lot of moving parts – running a business (dealing with clients and administrative matters), straightening the house, cooking food, shopping for groceries, laundry, exercise at least 3 days a week (can I squeeze that 4th day in for yoga?), cleaning litter boxes, calling my parents, writing my best friend, networking, setting new goals, eating right, just to name some of the things I do daily and/or weekly. Plus, I have to sleep and work in some down time, right?
Prioritizing may just be the hardest thing I do. Squeezing everything I want to do in a 24-hour period is tough to tackle. Mike Robbins put it like this, “I think we clutter up our lives with too much “stuff”. We’re too busy, over-committed and information obsessed“. Now and then I have to employ tough love with myself. As much as I hate to say it, getting up at 6 a.m. to exercise 3 mornings a week sometimes takes a back seat to taking that extra moment to just sit and drink some green tea, especially on those mornings I wake up and feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. Not enough sleep, running on all cylinders, burning the candles at 3 ends will do that to a person.
It isn’t always easy to say “no” when a friend asks to go out mid-week for drinks after work but some days I have to say it – nicely – NO. “I’m sorry, I have other plans.” That plan may be going home to drink a cup of tea and read. It may sound disingenuous to say that but if a friend won’t take no for an answer, you do what you have to do. It’s not lying. It’s prioritizing your own health and well-being as first priority. If next week is better, I just say, “not this week, how about next Tuesday?” It’s better to be honest with your friend and yourself instead of silently fuming that you got roped into an afterhours drink. Besides, your friend didn’t rope you in. YOU roped you in. Even Mahatma Gandhi knew this when he said, ““A ‘no’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.”
You can’t chair every committee you’re asked to chair. Heck, you can’t even be on every committee you’re asked to participate on. When do you get the rest of your life done if you do that?
That brings up the big point. I need to be honest with myself. We all strive to be Wonder Woman (or Wonder Man) but we are all human. There really are only 24 hours in a day and while most of the women (and men) I know are indeed super women (and men), all of us need to prioritize or we look more like Wile E. Coyote after being hit by the Acme anvil. None of us need that. According to Mike Robbins, “we may not know what’s most important to us or at least have some internal conflict about what “should” be. Whether it’s our lack of clarity or it’s this phenomenon of “should-ing” (or maybe a bit of both), focusing on what truly matters to us can be trickier than it seems on the surface.”
I decided to look up what some time management, life coach type people had to say about prioritizing. One of my favorites is Marie Forleo (#MarieForleo) at Marie TV. I highly recommend the video on this page of her website, www.marieforleo.com/2015/01/prioritize, which I found only after I wrote most of this blog post. Don’t you love when the Universe aligns with your intention?
My take on this, when all is said and done, is that some days you just need to relax and breathe. Do what is important to you and do your best to not let other things suck away your very precious time.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Steven Pressfield, which I learned about from watching Marie Forleo’s video. “The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
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© 2016 Suzan D. Herskowitz