“I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.” ~ John Burroughs
We all have the same amount of time allotted each day. In fact, time is one of the few resources in this world that is equitably distributed. Yet we constantly hear the same refrain “I don’t have enough time.” To be honest, this is often my own lament.
Like John Burroughs, I find that I have more projects, ideas and plans that I would like to accomplish than can realistically fit into 24 short hours. And while I may never accomplish all the things that I want to think, do, read, see and experience, I am committed to doing my best to check off the list.
1. The Rule of Three
Take a few minutes each evening to look over the to do list. Decide what is absolutely critical for the next day. Enter these into your smartphone’s task list for tomorrow or write them on a 3×5 card and tuck it into your wallet. These are the three things that you have now committed to completing, no matter what life throws at you. And it will.
As difficult as it is, I have had to acknowledge that I cannot complete everything on my list everyday. So I don’t. But, I commit to completing the three most important. I have decided to accept each day as it comes, filled with many tasks and interruptions that I didn’t have planned: the computer crashing, the long line at the auto service, running out of tape while trying to mail a package. These things just have to be worked around.
And yet, more often than not, I find at the end of the day that I have completed the three things that I committed to accomplish. Even when I haven’t completed them, I find that I have made significant headway and can easily finish them off the next day.
2. Create a Morning Ritual
Aristotle is quoted as saying “We are but what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I, however, am often quoted as saying “I don’t do mornings.” But, I do. I have to.
Mornings are hectic. There is a lot to be done in a very short time. Getting to work on time creates a singularly specific deadline. Plan to start the day with a simple ritual that eases you gently into the day. For me, this includes settling in with my cup of coffee, journal and spiritual reading for thirty minutes of inspiration and contemplation. Do what works for you. Take a walk, play uplifting music, have breakfast on the deck or mediate.
3. Be Kind to Yourself
Recognize that you are not perfect and never will be. And, most importantly, know that it is going to be okay. Nobody else is perfect either. The goal is to have a plan, do your best and give yourself grace when things don’t go as planned.