One of the greatest hurtles for me in writing is the constant pressure I feel to do things for other people. Some of that pressure is really good. Doing dishes, changing diapers, cleaning the bathroom – these are all good pressures to care for the ones I love and to remember my life is not my own. But then there are those other pressures. You know. I need X report by tomorrow. I need you to call me back right away. I need….
Then I set down to write, and all I can think about are the hundreds of things other people want me to do. I’ve 600 emails in my inbox right now. But I’m here, and I’m writing. I spent most of the morning avoiding this, but I’m here.
One of things I’ve found really helpful is, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, to just pick a few small things and get them done. Like the load of towels in the washing machine right now. Or even just taking a shower (it’s amazing how difficult it is to do something so basic when you have a baby to take care of). I guess it’s the small wins that make me feel like I can tackle something a little bigger. When I’m done writing in a minute, I’ll feel even better.
But that gets me thinking. How do you decide what needs to be done now, and what can get done later? How do you prioritize? One way, Stephen Covey suggests, is to divide tasks by importance and urgency. That’s pretty helpful, but the trick is in knowing what’s important and what’s urgent. For example, what might be important to someone else might not be to me. (Ironically, Eisley just woke up with a cry. So I had to take a 20 minute break and feed her.)
I’m not gonna pretend like I know the balance or rhythm of prioritizing. I feel like I often let others down. I just want to get to a place where the stress of my work does not impede on the stress of my family. It’s enough to have to worry about being a good husband and father. I’d prefer to leave work at work.
I’m really curious about what other people have found to be effective ways of prioritizing and setting boundaries.
Anyways, now on to my 600 emails….