Thursday, September 3, 2015

It Can Wait!

If you know me well, then you know this—I am the anti-procrastinator. And this is not always a good thing, no indeed, not at all. If something needs to be done, I have to do it right away or else. Or else I’ll get crazy and only be able to think about the thing that needs doing. Every day for years I’ve gotten up and made a To-Do list. I like to make a list for the day and for the week. I like to make different categories of lists (grocery list, book list, house list). Sometimes I’ve even made lists for the month or for a season (I have an actual Summer ’15 list in my planner. I don’t know if I’m proud of this or not. Maybe I should have kept this a secret because now maybe you think I'm a little scary. I'm not!).

Making a To-Do list really is a great idea. It helps us organize our thoughts, put them all down where we can see them, and cross them off as we get them done. I will make lists forever, I’m sure. However, sometimes I have a special knack for making things harder than they have to be. Sometimes I put more on my list than is humanly possible to complete in the amount of time that I’ve given myself, and I spend my day sprinting around in a state of frantic-ness that is completely self-induced.

In the past I’ve had this bad habit of sprinting around, constantly doing things and never resting, but not necessarily doing the things that I most need to do in order to make my life go smoothly. This always results in me having a Quarterly Crash where I pretty much get sick because I’m so exhausted.  I fully recognize that this is terrible for me, and in fact it’s something that I am constantly helping my clients with in counseling. It’s not good for me, I don’t feel like it’s honoring to God, and it’s a pattern that I’m determined to stop as I head into my 30’s.

This Saturday I was especially tired. Not just my body, but my mind and my spirit too. During the school year I teach a couple of college classes. I added a third class to my schedule this semester and after the first two weeks of teaching I was wiped out. And I know I am not alone in being tired out from the beginning of the back to school routine!

Even though I was tired, there were some things that I needed to take care of this weekend. But this time, before I made my To-Do list I decided to make an It Can Wait List. I got out my list paper and made a list of things that I needed to do at some point, but not necessarily right away. Some of these things included:

  • Taking the leftovers from our garage sale to the thrift store. They had been riding around with me for a week. A couple more days wouldn't hurt.
  • Bringing an enormous pile of clothes to the cleaners. They had been riding around with me for like a month. What’s another couple of days?
  • Washing the dog. He would be ok for another couple of days.
  • Cleaning anything.
  • Doing any sort of exercise.

And then I made a list of things that really could not wait. It included:

  • Washing clothes.
  • Getting ready for classes.
  • Laying down and not moving for a little while. Preferably in a dark room. 
  • Watching Step Up on ABC Family.  This most assuredly could not wait. Do you remember this? I think I could do this dance from memory. And then I would not be able to move for a week.

For me, the key to this working is asking myself a couple of questions—What is most important here? What will make me feel the least stressed today/this week/ this month? What do I feel like I need right now? The idea here is not to procrastinate. It's to give ourselves freedom to wait on some things in order to really focus on what's most important for right now. And really to just chill out altogether, because a lot of things really can wait. 

Because I'm so tech savvy, I made this special picture to go along with this idea.

Have a good weekend friends. I hope Step Up comes on ABC Family again so you can watch it too. I'm pretty sure it inspired me on towards success this week. And thank you so much for all your kind birthday wishes!


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