Busy is easy. Less is hard.
Will I ever have enough time? Probably not. Time seems to be the thing that I lack the most. Time with friends, with family. Time to exercise, to read, to think, to reflect, to pray. Time to practice my craft, do my favorite hobbies, take care of my loved ones. Time is what’s most needed, and what I always seem to be lacking.
It’s not a new thought. You’ve probably heard this before. “If you don’t make time for what’s important, how will you find the time to get it done?” Right? But still the tendency that most people have is to try to get “done” all the junk in their todo list first. They tell themselves that when they get the junk done, they will then do what’s most important. They do all the busy stuff, then try to make space to do what’s important.
I’m no different. Busy is easy. It’s easy to do the busy stuff. Sometimes I do it to procrastinate and put off what’s important. Ah, sometimes what’s important is not something I “want” to do. That’s also true.
Busy is easy because I can just fill my calendar with stuff, and then it fills up my day. As a family we can say yes to everything, and then it’s not just my calendar, it’s everyone under our own roof. Busy busy busy. Everyday there is something to do. And the list and commitments just seem to get bigger and grow longer. It comes at us from all sides.
Nothing works for me. I’m doomed.
No technique seems to work for me. Digital tools to track to do lists, calendars, paper lists, post-it notes. All of them have failed me. At the end of the day, more often than not, I am not getting done what’s most important. Some days I do, but those are the minority. Most days are just crazy busy and when they are all over, I still didn’t do what I wanted to.
I need space. I need time.
What all the gimmicks lack is the ability to help me create time. None of them give me more time. And I guess it’s foolish for me to think that they could have.
Sometimes my excuses are valid. I can’t do what’s important right now. It may be calling someone and it’s too late at night, or too early. It may be practicing my instrument, and it’s too late to make that much noise. The clock may be against me and I can’t do the “most important” thing right now.
How much of this is conditioning? Do I feel like I have to do all this stuff? After all why am I doing this? Do I feel this way because of my environment? Is this how I was raised? Is this culture? Is it education? I just have a tendency to fill up my day with stuff, and there you go.
I’m not sure it was intentional, but my schedule always seems to filled up to the point where I was running beyond my capacity. Overcommitted, and yet, somehow I manage to keep everything in progress and moving along. Somehow everything seemed to land safely. Every day is crazy, too much going on, too much to do. Too many people that I was committed to. Stressful? Yeah, that’s stressful.
What am I working on now?
Choosing what not to do, making space, that’s hard.
I’ve learned that it’s hard to decide what not to do, and let it go. Sometimes there are consequences as a result. I may be letting someone else down. I may make less money. But at the same time, I may create space to help someone else? I may have time to spend with my family, and my friends.
It’s hard to take stuff off the list. Much harder for me than tossing clothes I don’t want into a donation box. And it’s hard for me to do nothing at all, to even give myself permission to think and do the slower things on my list.
Making space is hard. But that’s my new thing. Making space, so I can do other things. I want to be proactive in my use of my time, not reactive.
So where do I begin? What can I cancel that’s on my calendar? What can I cross off my list permanently? What can I ask someone else to take care of?
I’ll start with that.