I would like advice on budgeting time. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that I need to do and things are starting to pile up. What am I doing wrong?
– Snowed Under in Springfield.
By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested from all the work of creating.
Dear Snowed Under,
Gabby had to put her cup of coffee down so that she didn’t spill it laughing. Now don’t feel bad, you aren’t the first person to go knockin’ on that door. But the crazy truth Gabby is going to let you in on is that there never are nor will there ever be enough hours in the day to get done what we want to get done. And that is because we are greedy, imperfect little critters by nature. For instance, Gabby would like to lose five pounds tonight. Is that going to happen? Probably not. And not just because of her affection for Russell Stover’s coconut clusters, but because it is just not realistic. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start each day with the best of intentions! But what we really must do is create realistic goals for ourselves everyday that allow us to feel successful. And those goals should include an assortment of needs and wants, a fine balance between what has to get done and what you’d like to get done. Kind of like a box of Russell Stover chocolates. Think about it.
To approach a box of chocolates correctly, first you need to read the map. A “You Are Here” moment, so to speak. Now, locate your priorities: caramels, pralines, nuts—you call the shots. Then, pace yourself. No sense in stuffing them all in quickly. You’ll never get the job done properly and you’ll barely taste anything—not to mention the horrible side effects—five pounds of abdominal fat and a bottle of pepto bismol! So, believe it or not, with this 2 pound box sitting in your lap, you’re going to have to consider giving some away. YES, delegating, passing the buck. Those nasty jellies just getting in your way, slowing you down? Try giving ‘em to someone else to eat. True, they may not like them either—but hey, that’s all they’ve got! They also might just do a great job and enjoy them too. It’s so easy to get focused on the jobs at hand that we forget to look around and see who can shoulder some of the load.
Can’t identify anyone in your life who can help you out with those jellies? How about reevaluating if you even need to eat them? We get this idea in our heads that we must eat every chocolate that’s in front of us. But what would happen to the remaining chocolates if all of the sudden we choked on one and died? Is anyone going to come around and say, “Oh, Snowed was right in the middle of eating these and she never got to finish them. In her honor, I will finish this box of chocolates!” No, that’s not happening. The rest of those chocolates will go uneaten, period. And what would be the consequence of that? Take a look at each of your chocolates and ask this question: If I just toss this out right now, will it have some serious repercussion? Will I lose my job or fail a class or get evicted from my apartment because I didn’t get to it? If so, eat that chocolate! But if the answer is: Well, I don’t supposed anything really serious would come of it, then that’s a chocolate you don’t have to eat. Maybe the pressure to eat the whole box is something you’ve created and are putting on yourself?
After you’ve managed to prioritize, pace yourself and pass the box around, eventually you’re going to have to do something unthinkable: stop eating. That’s right, take a break.
Stand up, walk away and go for a hike, pray or have a quiet cup of coffee. After all, God, who is perfect, spent 6 days creating night and day and the seas and land and every living thing and still He knew the value of stopping to smell the roses. You’ll be better at everything you do if you approach each new day this way—even if some vanilla creams get left for tomorrow.