Monday, December 11, 2017

Making the Most of Your Time


I feel like every year November and December grow more chaotic. Is it just me? I mean...between trying to write for NaNoWriMo, my own writing work, photography, and then thinking about Christmas shopping, holiday parties, and...well, the list goes on...it's overwhelming.

As I was going to pick up something from a friend the other day I started to think about how much I had to do that day. You know what I started to feel? Sheer panic. I mean, my list of "to-dos" grew by five items just in the space of a minute of thought. And the worst part? I knew there was absolutely NO way I could accomplish all the things on that list. Talk about defeating.

Even worse? I never seem to accomplish my to-do lists. I mean, never. This reality has me ending each day disappointed in myself and feeling a little a lot like a failure. It's like trying to scale a mountain that keeps growing. Or maybe the mountain is made out of sand? Let's go with snow, for the season. The snow continues to fall and you keep sliding back...further and further. I'm afraid that one day I'll stop and look around me and think...I didn't go up at all, just backwards.

After this moment of panic, I mentally slapped myself and started speaking some truth to "inner Emilie". I began to recount all the things I already had done that morning. It was a long list. Then I thought of what I could reasonably accomplish that afternoon. Again, it was more than I realized. And the kicker? I thought about what life would have been like a hundred years ago. I imagined a woman my age and what she'd have to accomplish. Her list was probably something like: gather eggs, milk a cow, make food, do laundry. For the WHOLE day. Forget a trip to the store, forget visiting friends, forget updating her multiple social media outlets...nope, her focus would be on the tasks in front of her and do what she could. Though, to be fair, I'm sure she didn't get everything done either.

That may seem like an odd thing to think of--well, I'm an odd person 😉 But, really, it helped me put a few things in perspective.

We hold ourselves to a standard that is unattainable (most days). Sure, our to-do lists probably look impressive and exciting, but what they are (if not made with reality in mind) is a ball and chain dragging us down to disappointment.
Putting our time in perspective is the only way we'll be able to end the day feeling accomplished.
I'm not good at this, I'll be the first to admit it, but I'd like to encourage you (as I encourage myself) in this season to make plausible to-do lists. You probably can't bake 3 different types of cookies, visit 9 friends, and write three chapters, all while doing laundry, posting on Instagram, and practicing for church choir. Believe me, I've tried this...

Instead, plan out 2-3 things you know you can accomplish each day. Do those things well, and save the rest for the next day. You may not get as many things done in a day, but I've got a feeling what you do get done will be done well. And you'll also end the day feeling much more accomplished.

What about you? Do you have any tips or tricks to ending the day feeling satisfied? Share in the comments below! 
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