If you’re anything like me, life is rushing past you at supersonic speed, seeming to scatter in all directions like a herd of squirrels. And if you’re anything like me, there is no slowing down in the near future. Despite all our technology, we seem to push and stretch to do more with the hours we have, cramming more doing in, despising those moments when we can’t do because of a line up or a break down or a need to just be.
But let’s not think this is a new dilemma. If we look back thousands of years ago, we see the same kinds of issues—too much to do and not enough time. Consider the shepherd of Biblical times. He had only as much daylight as the season permitted, yet in the winter had just as much work to do—when the hours of sunlight were shorter—as he did in the summer, when daylight lasted twelve or more hours. And they worked under harsh conditions. When we think of sheep, we think of green pastures. In reality, a lush meadow for him was a rocky hillside where tufts of grass grew in a clump here, a clump there. Seed, watered by the dew and the night fog from the Mediterranean, sprang up overnight and burned off in the hot afternoon sun. If the sheep didn’t find it before then, it was gone. And so the shepherd led them across the dry ground to a mouthful of food here, a mouthful there.
We want to be good shepherds of our time. For that, we need to be able to set priorities.
First of all, stop what you are doing.
Draw in a deep breath.
Do this a couple of more times until your mind quiets.
Consider what you need to do next.
Not in six hours. Not tomorrow. NEXT.
You’ll be amazed at how quickly life straightens out once you do this.
Another tool I use is to write down what I need to do and how long I think it will take to accomplish. Remember that life will get in the way—so, for example, if you have two hours, choose the task or tasks you can accomplish in 1 hour.
One of our biggest problems today is overscheduling, which doesn’t allow room for priority interrupts, such as a sick child who needs to be comforted, or an empty gas tank that needs to be filled, or an empty refrigerator that needs contents. If you get the first task or tasks on your list done, then choose another, and another. But leave yourself some breathing room.
Consider which items on your list you can delegate. Ask someone else for help. Tell someone else to do. Hire someone to complete. But if you do delegate, don’t hover over their shoulder and correct them when they stray from the way you would have done it.
Cross some items from your list that don’t need doing. Will anybody really notice if the top of the kitchen cabinets is dusty? If you take the laundry from the dryer right away, that reduces the need for ironing. Hang the clothes in the bathroom while you’re showering to steam away wrinkles. Or, hire someone to iron for you.
And when the panic starts to rise in the back of your throat, stop, breathe, think, act. Repeat.
Leeann Betts writes contemporary suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical suspense. She has released five titles in her cozy mystery series, By the Numbers. In addition, Leeann has written a devotional for accountants, bookkeepers, and financial folk, Counting the Days, and with her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, has published a book on writing, Nuggets of Writing Gold, a compilation of essays, articles, and exercises on the craft. She publishes a free quarterly newsletter that includes a book review and articles on writing and books of interest to readers and writers. You can subscribe at www.LeeannBetts.com or follow Leeann at www.AllBettsAreOff.wordpress.com All books are available on Amazon.com in digital and print.
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Guest posts are the opinion of that author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Gilda Evans or others posted here.