I was thinking today about how many times we go through a whole day, just to reach the end and measure ourselves against what we have accomplished. We make lists of things to get done, check them off, and go to bed, often unsatisfied with the outcome. Usually this is because we have even more things to do tomorrow.
I admit I live in that world most of the time. But, once in a great while, I manage to do something unexpected, something I personally enjoyed doing, that wasn’t called for, that wasn’t part of the plan, and I realize that much of my life is happening while I am hunched over, planning what I am going to do next.
There is something to be said for getting the essentials for life done, but just how much further should we go in pursuit of “getting it all done.”
If you are like most Americans, (and increasingly like most people in the world who are slavishly following in our footsteps) then you have more things to do in any given day than you can possibly accomplish. The vast majority of self-help books basically consist of a set of guidelines for filtering out what are the most important things you want to do, arranging them in order of priority, determining how long each will take to do, and consoling yourself that you spent your entire day doing the most important things. The result is supposed to be a happy productive life. But for many I suspect it simply means that you have a really good idea that you are totally overwhelmed.
So, I’d like to offer a prescription for American Time Management.
Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Let it out. Now, say this out loud to yourself.
“I owe myself a break. I’ve worked hard, I deserve it. I am taking five minutes, right now, that are just for me. Not for friends, family, society, or habits. I am not going to think of anything to do. For five minutes I am going to relax and take in the whole world around me. I am going to appreciate the simple fact that I am in control of my destiny.
Maybe I’ll have a cup of tea.”