I know; we are well into January already and the year, in terms of the New Year holiday, is no longer new. Yet, thoughts of what the New Year brings still linger for me. This year I revisited a practice I had abandoned for a few years. I did something similar to the time management tool, The Wheel of Life, in which one considers each area of one’s life to assess what’s off balance. Only, I did it to plan what I want to do in each area of my life…work, health, social, spiritual, etc. It was an inspirational plan!
I was so excited and got off to a magnificent start the first day. Of course, the smorgasbord effect took place immediately and I began trying to do what turned out to be too much. My mental eyes were too big for my actual to-do’s.
I think with the spirit of a fresh start, often it is easy to get carried away with what seems to be within the realm of possible. It is exciting in one’s mind’s eye to imagine all the physical, financial, clean-things-out goals that we can achieve in a whole year. I have discovered at this early January date what I rediscover every year…I bite off more than I can chew. That bite inevitably leads to my feeling anxiously too busy.
So when that happens, I first have my inevitable moping and railing-against-the world, it’s-not-fair-fit. What I am actually able to-do meets reality and then my “there’s-only-so-much-time-in-the-day, why-can’t –there-be-more-than-24-hours-in-a-day-?, I-want-to-be-super-woman” inner rant reigns! Proudly proclaiming that I have matured over the years, my what-used-to-be mini-funk that would usually follow, now lasts for less than half a day.
And then it’s time to appropriately assess the situation and get done what is possible to get done. So how exactly do we make decisions about what to get done, what to get to at another time, and what you can completely let slide into that “oh well, who cares now, too bad I didn’t get to it” land?
There are all kinds of organizers and systems people can use. I find that my Franklin Planner still works. However, there are three strong guidelines that help me make those decisions and they work great. These powerful guidelines are my gut, my interest, and my honor.
Let’s begin with our gut: For me, and I believe this is true for everyone, if you just take one moment to be quiet, without what I call effort-thinking, without worrying about whether what you decide is right or wrong, your gut will tell you and you will know. You can do this for your entire to-do list; just listen and pick the next thing. It’s important not to use your emotions, your intellect, or anything you are considering in your head. Just be quiet, listen, and the answer is there. What comes up for you is the right thing to do next.
Interest – There are those items that we recognize clearly as “I shoulds.” I should read this, I should learn about that, I should study this, or I should respond to that. Truly, disregard all “shoulds.” If you genuinely are driven by an interest in something, choose that to-do next. You’ll be so glad you did. Don’t worry about not getting important stuff done, your gut and your interest is the truth about what needs to be done next.
Honor – if you gave someone a deadline, if you promised to have something delivered at a certain time, or if you have someone depending on you, do it! Very simple!
So another year is on its way and it is mid-January. I’ve adjusted. I will get a lot done, I will be busy, and I will have so much to do. I will be successful and it will be all right.