Hi friends. Well, it’s the end of another week which means another post! I was thinking about what today’s topic could be, as it could possible relate to some of the previous posts — you know, about making changes, big or small. I was going through my home office notes for ideas and came across one of my journals where I had done some big thinkin’.
Before I took the giant step regarding my job, I found in this journal the lists made of pros and cons for resigning — an initial list, another two months after list #1, and two more spaced out over a year-long period. I did some serious ‘shop and compare’ing of what my priorities were before deciding what to do.
This reminded me that we ALL should be using lists. For all sorts of life stuff.
To the readers who are already saying “Not me. I can do it all! EVERYTHING, I TELL YOU!”
I’m impressed you are capable of having such power over life. You also might be the individuals who don’t realize this makes you more like our bone-in-da-nose friend here, than to today’s Joe/Jane. Remember him? He thought he could battle a smilodon and win? We’ll come back to that.
The fact is, we live in a world that glorifies being busy. Some people take pleasure in chaos. Others tend to get a bit flummoxed when there is a lot on our plates. We feel like we either don’t know where to begin, or just can’t do it, period.
*Sidenote: I am also enjoying that you are looking up what a smilodon is.*
How’s that state of frenzy and panic working out? Mhmm. Thought so.
Did you write it all down, prioritizing each with “someone will not get fed tonight if I don’t accomplish this now” to “those cat videos I was scrolling through and that Facebook quiz to find out what kind of cheese I am can probably wait.”
No? Lemme guess what happened.
Your friend/supervisor/spouse/WHOEVER, gets ticked off because you are trying to check off your non-existent to-do list and their thing was apparently less important than you finding out you are dill havarti.
You ran at your targets unprepared and hoped for the best. This system is guaranteed to become a hot mess you and they didn’t want or need.
Let’s go back to my caveman example.
I shall call him…Stone. (Because it works for the time period. And I listened to a lot of Pearl Jam in my youth.)
Stone needs to feed and clothe his cave family. He has been hauling rocks all day and lost track of time. (Did telling time exist yet? Anyhow. Let’s continue.) As the sun starts to set, he looks up and sees an animal in the distance. Immediately seizing his club, he madly runs across the barren landscape to kill and claim it. However, by the time he reaches the giant beast he is exhausted, and in the flash of time it takes for him to see its teeth and claws? He? Is now the prey.
I like spontaneity as much as the next guy. But you know what I appreciate more? PLANNING. If Stone had thought ahead on how he was going to find the next week of meals, he might be enjoying them with his family instead of becoming prehistoric lunchmeat.
Planning, which leads to effective use of time, then lends to opportunities to cycle back to actually being able to do MORE of the spontaneous, wanted activities!
That is why some wonderful person created lists.
Pen and paper have been around almost as long as our cave buddy has, so y’all have no excuse not to get writing. Just jot-jot-jot down what’s happenin’ today, tomorrow, this week…heck, even think a year ahead like I did with my pro/cons lists. If it’s stuff you complete in a shorter period, scratch each out after. Maybe even crumple up the page when all is done.
Sweet, sweet, crinkly satisfaction.
Are you still with me? I hear you mumbling “thanks for wasting my time reading something so obvious.”
But here’s the thing. If it WERE obvious and EVERYONE was doing this, I wouldn’t be writing about it.
Set priorities. Multi-task. Maybe you can delegate if someone else around you knows how to do it and is available to help.
I’m a fan of using the Reminders app on my mobile in addition to the old-fashioned way: Set each with a date and time to pop up onscreen, or allot specific start and end times for some tasks, like writing. I can lose an entire afternoon to edits if I’m not paying attention. (Hey, lists aren’t foolproof — I forget stuff. But they’re still better than nothing at all!)
I’m pretty confident you’ll dig how much easier it makes things once you get into the habit. Making changes is a good thing! And the items on your lists don’t have to be just chores; add bits like “lunch date at 1!” or “swimsuit shopping for Mexico!”
It’s been proven a habit only takes two weeks to form one (making lists, yay!) or to lose one (popcorn for dinner 3x/week is apparently not recommended. Damn.)
We can’t say we aren’t accountable for something when it’s right in front of us, in our own handwriting. I’m aware there are only so many hours in a day and unexpected things will happen, meaning we need to amend and move items to the next day or two. That’s cool. Progress not perfection, y’all.
Just be smart about what really CAN wait, and what shouldn’t have to.