“When things are taking their ordinary course, it’s hard to remember what matters.” – Marilynne Robinson
Life gets busy. In fact, it can get so busy that you may often find yourself in a frenzy just trying to get things done. One after another, chores and tasks clamor to be tended to. The kids need a meal, the laundry’s piled up in the corner, your best friend calls and desperately needs to talk, you haven’t gone to the grocery store and your boss just handed you a hot project. Not only do you start to feel like a robot just going through the moves, you also have no time to think about what matters.
It’s time to slow down and take a few breaths. The chores and duties will still be there, but you’ll be better able to sort through what’s urgent and needs attention right now and what can wait a bit to get h handled. Time management experts recommend prioritization of tasks in order to help streamline and arrange them to better manage time and to reduce stress. This technique also helps you weed through unnecessary tasks and pinpoint what does matter.
Think of a tornado and all the flying debris that whirls around. In the center of the tornado, however, it’s calm. All the busy projects, the incessant demands on you – those are the debris in the tornado. You need to find the center, the space of calm and peace and quiet. That’s where you can sort through the superfluous, categorize and prioritize the essential, and focus on the most important.
While this might seem like a great idea but one that’s hard to do, especially when you’re elbow-deep in washing dirty dishes, the phone is ringing and the dog just tracked mud across the kitchen floor you just mopped, with practice and time you will be able to nail this down to a workable approach.
Centering, concentrating on the moment – this is called mindfulness or becoming aware. Everyone can use more of this. There is no downside to taking time out to hone in on the present, to count your breaths and feel the sensations in your body. Time will seem to slow down as you hear and acknowledge the distractions around you and then let them slip away. For the moment, all that matters is a concentration on this moment.
Meditation practitioners say that simple truths emerge in this period of calm. What truly matters becomes more apparent. Once you know what means the most to you, it’s a lot easier to determine what to do, how to do it and when to get started.
Another tip is to remember that relationships are more valuable than material possessions. Loved ones, family members and friends mean more than that extra money in overtime. To get more out of life – even a very busy one – remember what matters. Then act accordingly.