Not by the book

Everyone likes advice. They want to hear what the “experts” say. No one can really tell you “how to do it.” What I write about in this blog is my own practice and experience of life. Nothing else can lead to that kind of clarity of what works for me.

Maybe that makes the lessons I’ve learned less relevant for you but on the other hand you can know that it’s not by the book. It’s real.

So I want to tell you what happened when tried to follow my schedule strictly, dropping whatever I was in the middle of to do the next task, leaving the current task unfinished.

I saw that this insistence on the exact parameters of my schedule leads to absurdity. I was forced to stop my thought process when developing an idea in my mind. I can imagine how comical it would look with only half the clothes getting put into the dryer, salad with half the vegetables in the bowl left whole and stopping mid-sentence during an important conversation. Not everything in life should be an unfinished symphony.

What works for me? When can I really focus and be engaged in life? I can have an extremely full day and still be focused and attentive as long as I know nothing is going to interfere with anything else. There’s a time for everything.

What gets me off track is when one task is taking longer than the allotted time. That causes me to become distracted, thinking about the other tasks that will get neglected. The truth is, there is no way to avoid that. Even if I would be able to determine to the minute the amount of time needed to do every little thing – which is impossible – there are always things that come up that I’m not going to ignore. Someone needs my help. An urgent errand has to be done. Whatever.

My new paradigm – and what I did yesterday – is this: Don’t get lost in a given task as if there’s no tomorrow yet at the same time focus and see the task through – till it’s finished!

If, when in the middle of a given task I see it’s going beyond the allotted time – what’s required is to stop, evaluate and decide what to do next. Do I want to cut, delay or shorten this or upcoming tasks? Is there something in my ongoing schedule that needs to be completely put off until next year? This thought process is like pressing the “reset” button. I’m back to focus again.

Yesterday, as you may have noticed I only got to the blog at the very end of the day even though the allotted time for it is pretty early in the morning. There was work outside the house to get to, all kinds of stuff… I wouldn’t allow my creative thought process to be cut off. I just kept on reworking my schedule throughout the day. I’ll continue at 4:30, I’ll skip this, I’ll get to that tomorrow, etc. Whatever was important to me fit in somewhere or other. It had a place in my life.

Along with this juggling I have to face the reality that I have more to do in a day than time to do it all. What a blessing! I might as well relax lovingly and joyfully into it!

Batya Yaniger

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