I’ve found myself juggling a lot, lately. And a lot that seems to have crept in, under the radar: those obligations, invitations, expectations that aren’t MINE, but have somehow ended up on my plate.
There’s a lot on that plate. And it’s all squishing and oozing together, and some of the important stuff is getting pushed off the edge.
TIME FOR AN INTERVENTION!
I made a little list. I like making lists. They help me see what’s actually happening, pull all the mush outta my brain and put it on paper where I can deal with it appropriately. Or crumble it up and throw it away, depending on my mood.
Anyway, the list I made, right?
Simple. Not anything earth-shattering. I jotted down the broadest categories of my life: what I am/what I do. I came up with 8. I’m not going to tell you what they are, because you should come up with your own. Also because it’s fun to be arbitrarily secretive. Ssssssshhhhhhhhh….
What are the big areas in your life? The BIG, major categories? Maybe there are 2, or 5, or 8, or 10? Or 17? (Probably if you come up with 17 you’re not thinking big enough. BIG, BROAD categories, not teensy itty bitty ones.)
I made the list. Then I thought: what’s the single most important thing I need to do in each of these categories? A SINGLE item or task. Maybe a daily or weekly thing. The timing’s not the issue. The priority is.
Another way to ask yourself this question: In order to succeed in THIS area, WHAT IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING I MUST DO?
If one of your areas is your job, this question should have you answering with the most pertinent task you have. If you’re a salesman, it’s Make Sales. If you’re a technician, it’s Fix Stuff. If you’re a writer, it’s Write Stuff. (Gosh darn it, just gave away one of my categories! I am no good at secrets.)
Here’s the scary part. Well, at least it was for me. Maybe your life is perfect and you are right on track with your priorities, in which case I’m not sure why you’re here? But on we go.
The scary part: look at those categories, and look at those Most Important Tasks, and ask yourself: how often are these Most Important Tasks getting done?
Daily? Ever? Once in a while? Yearly? Weekly? Never?
Only 3 out of my 8 were getting accomplished on a semi-regular basis, and really not even close to what is needed to move forward in those areas.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS?
It means that, on a daily basis, I am making choices and living a life that will automatically FAIL me in 5 of the 8 BIG HUGE AREAS of my life.
So. Knowing that you’re sending yourself a shipment of fail is a good thing, at least. It’s a start. The worst place to be is failing and not knowing it. Once you know, you start making changes. You start thinking differently.
And when you narrow it down – each big category – to one important thing to do, you can start focusing and doing it. No more endless lists, goals that are mind-boggling in complexity, details that drain you before you even begin working.
Just a few big categories that fit your life.
And a single Most Important Thing for each one.
And then? Do those things. Every day, if you can. And keep track of it, somewhere you can remember, so when your big Shipment of Success shows up, you’ll look back and remember it’s not random. You earned it.