Reflection: Chances are good that the last time you meandered through the tall grass or took a stroll in the woods, your pants and socks picked up more than a few sticky burrs. They’re those pesky seeds that eagerly stick their claws into you, and hitchhike a ride from there to who knows where. The very same critters that inspired Velcro.
Attacked by burrs is how I feel these days as I move through my office, our home and the garden. Each time I turn around, it seems another undone task insinuates its way into my consciousness, stakes a claim on my brain, and plants a hook in my mind. Answer this email, finish that article, call that client. Fold that laundry, fix that appliance, clean that corner. Fertilize those plants, prune those shrubs, pick that rhubarb.
Most time management references advise keeping a series of lists on which you place all of the items clamoring for your time and energy. Then you focus your attention and narrow down the list by choosing your priorities for the week and the day. Neat and tidy, eh? Still doesn’t account for the attack of the burrs!
It’s true, writing things down does minimize the mental reminders (‘Remember this, don’t forget that!”) that trampoline their way through your brain. And prioritizing does focus attention. However, I still notice the undone as I move through the day, and am oh so easily hooked on my way by.
Action: So, here’s my new practice: catch and release! I figure if it works for anglers, it could work for someone angling for a new take on a sticky situation.
As I walk through the office, my home or the garden, attacked by the sticky burrs of the undone tasks bent on snagging my attention, I sidestep their attack, and respond in one of these ways: “Ah, it’s you! There you are again! How lovely to see you! All in good time, my friend, all in good time!”
I catch their glance, release their hold, and with a spirit of graceful benevolence, pass on by. At least, that is my best intention! The ‘catch and release’ practice seems to help. Let me know how it works for you.
PS – When it comes to the real life burrs in your socks and pant legs and on the family dog, I’ve got nothing for you!
Quote Of The Week: “You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one.” – Tom Kite
Resource Of The Week: You might enjoy Craig Jarrow’s blog, Time Management Ninja. It’s brief, visually clean and crisp, and thoughtful. Here’s a link to his ‘Best Of TMN’ collection.
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, Thank You…No, Thank You, Pause reader YD writes: “In my job, I meet daily with people who are angry, upset, demoralized, tired, … you name it. I love what I do; and yes, it takes its toll. Recently, I added a large whiteboard to my wall, facing my workstation. At first, I though I’d be using the board to explain models; but I’ve discovered another use for half of the writing surface – a Gratitude Board. Every day, when I get in my office, I start my PC then sit down and think about something I am grateful for. On some days, I have little so I must reflect more. On other days, I have tons of ideas and reasons to be grateful. Every day, I write down at least one idea, concept, person, or event. That keeps me going, smiling and grateful, for the whole day. This daily exercise has convinced me that I live a blessed, extraordinary life.