Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then, youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success. –Louisa May Alcott
This week it has been really easy for me to get a bit consumed with the physical aspects of my Order virtue. There is something immensely satisfying about starting out with a total mess and bringing it to order. Yes, there is a reason this virtue makes my list, even if my lack of aptitude seems a direct contradiction! As important as this initial piece of my virtue is, the second part of my (actually Ben Franklin's) definition, "Let each part of your business have its time" is a most important decree.
Before I became a stay at home mom it was a little easier to find some natural divisions in my time. Work happened at work and the struggle became to leave work at the office but, never the less, some division in time was obvious. Now my office and my home are one and all the lines are being smashed together. I am constantly trying to multi task, propping my computer on the counter while I'm cooking dinner, talking to my mom while tossing a ball to Jessie, reading my kindle while Jessie plays in the park, typing my blog post while having coffee with my sweetie. The game is to try and do everything and apparently all at once!
This really doesn't work very well. I realize as I am typing this (while J sleeps and Sweetie is working in his office -- so it is actually the perfect time to be doing so!) that my doing everything at once approach doesn't really allow for me to be fully present anywhere. My girl is not getting the benefit of full attention and I'm actually training her to be indifferent with my slow to respond attitude. My Sweetie and I need time together and not just time sitting in the same room. My mom deserves my attention when we are talking. I deserve time to myself and all of these relationships are getting short changed in my quest to do it all.
One of the major precepts of the Mission Control program I mentioned earlier in the week is that you will never get everything done. When one first hears this it feels like an assault on one's character. "You might not be able to do it, but I sure can!" chants through your head and you convince your self that some tip or tool will someday provide the perfect access to FINALLY getting it all done! The problem is the quest for the tool becomes a scapegoat for all the stuff you aren't able to do at the moment, "When I get organized (insert tip or tool of choice here) I'll be able to get everything done!" and then even if you become successful and employ your new tool (in this case getting organized) all the time you free up because of it will be immediately filled with a hundred other things you want, should or need to do.
Our calendars are finite. We only have 24 hours in a day. No matter how organized and efficient we get this remains the case.
Not really what you want to hear is it?
We really do want more time but unfortunately no tip or tool can give us any more. I know you are resisting this fact. If/when we really understand this we can look at our days anew. The game becomes about prioritizing. Since I only have 24 hours in a day what do I want to do with them becomes the question, and the sort of crazed, trying to do everything all at once way I've been doing it is not the answer.
I've decided that I'm going to divide my time into relationship blocks. Family time, Friend time, Jessie time, personal sanity time (which may include housework because having clean laundry does help to keep me sane!), Sweetie time and Blog time. Today I will do one thing at a time and I will be fully present with the people I love.
So what do you want to do with your 24 hours? A few of them will be used conducting the business of life, sleeping, doing laundry, working, but what about the rest of them? What really is most important to you?
[Note: I found the Louisa May Alcott quote over on the Optimal Optimist's blog in her post Life's Questions Answered, where she discusses some of the same conundrums about time. A visit to her blog would be worth some of yours!]
Next Post: My Happiness Project Review
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