May 27, 2011

Too Much To Do? Get Over It

So you got too much to do? Yeah me too. Sucks doesn’t it? The day is just never long enough, you can just never get to it all. It is frustrating and maddening. Right?

You work all day, and having nothing left for yourself or your family when you get home. Your weekends are filled with doing what you couldn’t get done during the week. You would like to do something worth doing in the evenings, but your days take all you got and all you can do is flop down on the couch and watch TV.

Sound familiar, right? “I’ve got too much to do.” It is a thought that spends too much time bouncing around my head. I just can’t seem to get to the things I “really” want to get too. There are so many things that I “have” to do that the things that would bring the most joy are swept to the side.

I have been thinking about this a lot lately and I think that, in general, this thought is not a useful one. We do have too much to do, but what if we didn’t?

What kind of life would you have if there weren’t so many things worth doing? If you got up every morning having nothing to do beyond feeding and caring for yourself?

Now sure, if your burned out, that sounds good. And it would be nice if happened once in a while. But what if that is the way it was day after day, week after week, month after month? What then?

What kind of life would that be?

I don’t think it would be a very good one. We all need purpose in our lives. We need dreams and desires and things to overcome. And that kind of life leads to….

Too Much To Do

Yup. There it is. You have too much to do because you are actually living a life.

Some of the benefits of having too much to do:

  1. It makes you choose; decide what is important in your life.
  2. Gives you purpose and meaning.
  3. Challenges you to grow.

Not working for you? Still hating how much you have to do? Here are some more thoughts on this (in no particular order):

  • Perhaps you need to look at the definition of “Have To”. There are probably many things in your life that you rush to do that don’t need the be done quickly. Most of the time, little or nothing will happen if it doesn’t get done. Some things in life are both urgent and important; but most are not. Most things actually can wait. So that email, or text message, or phone call: urgent, but (in most every case) not important.
  • Ever been sick, flat on your back, unable to do a thing? Of course you have. What happened to all that things you had to do that day? Did the world end? Doesn’t seem to have, and those things were waiting for you when you got well. Somehow the world gets by without our constant attention and business.
  • Allow small bad things to happen. So you go to bed at a decent hour and as a result a few bills are late. Big deal. So you miss a deadline you really wanted to keep, but trade that for some quality family time. Way to go. Author Tim Ferriss talks about this on his blog and in his book, The 4-Hour Workweek
  • Give something up to do more of the things you want. Some low hanging fruit for this: TV, facebook, twitter, games, Angry Birds, texting, obsessive email checking, etc. You get the idea. Downtime is important, I am not talking about giving that up, but there is stuff we all do that could be eliminated to make room for things that are more important.
  • Some folks are addicted to the urgent (whether that urgent item is important or not), so that is how they live their lives. Not you or me of course. Oh no, not us.
  • There are lots of tools and techniques out there to help manage your time so you do what is really important. Find something that works for you and use it.

So, here are my two main points (in case it’s not obvious):

  1. Having “Too Much To Do” is a sign of a life worth living, so stop fighting it, celebrate it.
  2. You can always make more room for what is most important. Your gonna have to give something up, but them’s the breaks.

OK, there you go. Off to do more stuff; my “to do” list will not be done my the end of the day–as usual–which is fine, there is always tomorrow.

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Robert J. McCarter

Robert J. McCarter is the author of more than ten novels and over a hundred short stories...... learn more

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