I have a hard time accepting this fact, mostly because there are so many things that I want to do. But every time I try to do too much, everything suffers. I get a lot done, but nothing is done particularly well, and no matter how much I accomplish, there’s still a bunch of things that I didn’t accomplish, so even when I’m working really hard (and efficiently), I can sometimes feel like a slacker or failure or some other less-than word.
Now that I have a baby, it is becoming even more difficult to accomplish things (other than taking care of the baby, which I think is a huge accomplishment!). So I am reminded of a tool that I used in law school, another time when there were too many things to do and not enough time to do them all.
This tool involves priorities and ensuring that we focus on what is most important to us. It also recognizes that our priorities change as our challenges change. For example, for the last five weeks, I’ve been studying for the bar exam (took it last week!) so all my other priorities (other than the baby) fell to the wayside. Only the mandatory things were accomplished. No house cleaning, no exercising, no blogging, no shopping (other than for groceries), and no reading anything other than study materials.
My tool is low-tech and simple: I write my priorities on index cards, one on each card. Then I post them in the order of importance somewhere that I will see them every day, like on my desk or the bathroom mirror or inside the kitchen cabinet holding my coffee cups.
Right now, my priorities are
FAMILY – meaning my husband, daughter, and dogs
BAR APPLICATION – I must finish my application soon
VOLUNTEER WORK – meaning therapy dog work with Emily, Board of Ed, and the ABA
LEGAL – meaning a business plan & other legal work
For now, that’s the order. I’ll re-evaluate next month to see if I need to change the order. Everything on the list is important. If it’s not really important, then it doesn’t even make the list!
What will you write on your cards? And will you modify the tool to a more high tech version, like putting your list as your screensaver on your computer or wallpaper on your blackberry?
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