NB: Originally written in November 2014
We will never come to the end of the to-do list. There will never be else at all left to us. Even when we die, most of us will leave many things unfinished. My father, in the last days of his life, said he still had a mystery series to read.
So how am I to decide what to do? How to prioritize? What to do first, second, third?
For the next hour, for pity’s sake?
And perhaps most pertinent for this season, for the next year?
This realization—that the to-do list (such a horrible name, I think!) will never add, will always have things that could be added—has been a farily awful realization for me. Of late, I’ve been thinking of it, and thinking about how there’s always work to do, always time to inhabit with loved ones, always households to run…
It overwhelms me. Does it overwhelm you?
I have heard of the “done” list. Giving ourselves the gift of gratitude for what we have accomplished, what time we have inhabited, how we have been in our time for the day. It’s a good idea, the “done” list, though the pitfall, of course, is that you decide there’s not enough on it, and go back to do more work on the to-do list—even if it’s not written down, it’s still in your head.
There are so many ways of organizing your time.
The “Getting Things Done” system. Other systems that organize what you do, how you do it, and when. Designating things Urgent, Important, Unimportant, Can Wait.
These are all good ways of looking at the work you do. But work is not all there is, eh?
What are the values that you want to govern your choices?
Is work truly the most important thing in your life? Do you want it to be?
And if not, then what do you want to be most important?
Do you know that exercise where you draw a circle and divide it into pie pieces—work, family, love, physical health, mental health, etc—and then you fill in as much of each pie piece as you have enjoyment or satisfaction?
What does your pie look like? Take some time and create it today?
On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the greatest satisfaction you can imagine, how does your love life rate? Your work satisfaction? Your household? Your relationships with family?
Take a moment to take stock. If you’re like me, most of the time, you going flying by these questions. You just zip on by, enduring or enjoying and never being present enough to mourn or celebrate.
Take a moment to ask yourself not just what the pie pieces look like, but what you would like them to look like. What pieces would you like to see “plumped up,’ and which make you happy just thinking about them?
I encourage you, take a moment. Just take a moment to consider your life.
Take a moment. Take a moment to see what is and to dream of what could be.
Take a moment. Take a moment to ask yourself what values are in play and which values you want to be in play.
Just take a moment.
(2016 addition follows)
One way to take some time to consider how you might like your life to be is to spend some time in discernment with some others and with me. Join me and a whole host of others on the self-study site at The Way of the River. The Days of Discernment is a series of pages designed to help you decide, judge, discern what is most important to you. The Days of Discernment pages are free for you as a gift from me to all those who receive my love letter each Monday, Reflections.
You may use the pages in order, out of order, quickly, slowly, or never. Nonetheless, they are available to you as a lovegift from me to you. Sign up and let me know what you think!