So lately I’ve been thinking – is my life really that busy, or do I just rewrite lists?
When cleaning off my desk (a seemingly endless chore), I find a number of lists written haphazardly on little bits of paper. After the third Sticky-Note that matches 50% of the list written on a handy napkin, which mostly matches the list on a random piece of notebook paper, I have to wonder – why am I rewriting lists? Do I just want to waste time instead of focusing on what’s important?
Unfocused Busyness Leads to Clutter
I have a dream – some day, I shall be Organized with a capital “O”. You know, that fictional character that messmakers like to dream up, That Person who always has the living room neat as a pin and never has a hair out of place. By contrast, my hair often looks like birds have happily used it for a nest, or that I’m trying to channel a cricket – feelers and all.
When I’m in the mood, I can clean and toss and organize…and that lasts until the next houseguest arrives. Why on earth can’t I seem to ever catch up?
Marketing Overload Eats Your Long-Term Goals
It’s true that our busy times are constantly demanding that we look at something new – the marketplace has been invited into the sanctuary of our homes, where many of us also work. It’s no longer a wise business practice to ‘keep an open mind’ to every new thing that comes along; that would be a surefire way to go crazy really fast.
Sometimes, though, the phenomenon of marketing overload means that we skim over what should be read deeply. Months ago, I edited a book review on Cal Newport’s business neo-classic, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. His viewpoint was that nothing meaningful gets done without quiet, focused attention; that much multitasking means we do a lot of tasks that really don’t accomplish long-term goals.
From Uber-Organized to Quiet
The ongoing Brangelina custody battle in the entertainment world, between Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, centers around a fundamental difference of opinion: privacy versus a glass house. It’s distressing to see children’s privacy rights become just another episode in a tug-of-war parenting battle – is all publicity good publicity, or is some of it harmful enough to be avoided even to your own hurt?
If there’s a particle of truth to the idea that Jolie is Uber-Organized and Pitt is the crazy creative, perhaps that would explain why they’re now trying to unravel Brangelina. Uber-organized often means overly controlling, i.e. there’s no flexibility to the overwhelming need for tidiness.
There’s a certain level of organization necessary for mental quiet, and spiritual quiet, to really take place. You have to know where things are, or where to find them. You have to know your priorities, at least the top five. And you have to be able to take time out from the madding crowd to do some real thinking, working through pros and cons and possibilities for the future.
List Recycling for the New Year
So instead of making a new list for this New Year, I’m just going to bring out some old lists and pick a few areas of focus:
- Marketing: Either replace Upwork as a freelance platform, or enhance my efforts by adding a more effective avenue for good leads.
- Life Goals: Pass the paralegal exam.
- Books: Read through at least one history book on my shelves, and finish the Hillsdale College ‘Constitution 201’ course.
- Rest: Sit outside on Fridays and enjoys the birds playing in the bird bath.
- Writing: Finish a first draft of a non-fiction account, ‘Wolves Among Us’, about the strain of heavy-handed, controlling leadership in very conservative cults that pretend to reflect God’s reasonable nature.
Anything more would just get added to the new list in 2018!