I have what my husband calls, “Shiny Butterfly Syndrome”. I get easily distracted. A typical day for me went something like this: I’d be sitting on the couch by Eric and think “I’m really thirsty, I could use a glass of water.” I’d go to the kitchen to get the water and realize that the dishes need to be done. So I’d start to do the dishes, but the dish rag is the one from yesterday and smells a little weird so I take it to the laundry room. Then I notice that the clothes in the washer need to be put in the dryer, but the dryer is full of towels. So I start to fold the towels when I hear a voice from the bathroom say, “Mom, I’m done”. So I go help the child and now the bathroom needs to be cleaned. By now, I am working up a sweat and start thinking, “I’m thirsty, I could really use a glass of water.” So I get my water, go sit back down and Eric asks, “Where have you been for the last hour and a half?” To which I reply…”Getting a glass of water.”
I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t get anything done. There were many things I wanted to incorporate into my schedule, but felt I was so busy and couldn’t see how to fit it all in. I felt rushed, unbalanced and unable to give my best to all my priorities. I have heard LIFE Co-Founder, Claude Hamilton, say, “You can’t expect what you don’t inspect.” It hit me that maybe I need to inspect my daily actions. It was time to take an honest evaluation of what I was actually doing with my time and identify my true priorities. It was also time to stop allowing my busyness to keep me from achieving the goals I wanted and expected.
When you are that scattered you need a system to keep you on track. There are some great books through LIFE on organizing your time, prioritizing your schedule and how to stop procrastinating. Those books are: “Eat That Frog!” by Brian Tracy and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephan R. Covey. The “7 Habits” book is one of my favorites because it helps you identify your core values/priorities and walks you through how to set up your schedule based on those core values. My initial plan was to keep track of everything I did throughout the day for a whole week. That only lasted about 2 days. I quickly realized how much time I wasted by being distracted and by not having a specific plan for each day. I also realized there were things in my schedule that were interfering with my priorities.
Once I identified my shortcomings, I could now come up with a plan to change. I took my to-do list and assigned a time slot to each item. I treated those things as an appointment I had to keep. Over time I learned to focus on one task at a time and that I could make time for what matters most to me. I also learned it was okay to say, “No” to anything that would keep me from my priorities. At the end of the day, I felt I had invested time in each area of importance, felt more balanced and at peace knowing that I was doing what would lead me to the results I wanted and expected.
Only when you identify where you are currently at can you make the necessary changes to move toward your ultimate goal. Your future will be a result of what you do today. Don’t get distracted by “shiny butterflies”…make today count.