This is a busy time of year for most of us. Business and family parties, finishing off what won’t keep for the New Year, preparing for those few days you plan to relax. Every time I plan a vacation, my to-do list grows, and a lot of things I put off indefinitely seem to gain in urgency, so that by the time I go, I’m exhausted, having been up till 4 in the morning taking care of all those urgent matters.
It’s as if I’m preparing for the possibility of death or extreme change, so that everything becomes urgent. More than important.
A trick I learned a while ago for dealing with my own temporary insanity around sudden urgent tasks is this: if I feel an overwhelming need to get some task done, even though the need to get this thing done was never that important before, I delete it. Completely. Then I look at the important tasks, and focus only on them, because when I label something “important”, I’m doing so from a calm, considered place. On the other hand, when I label something “urgent” I’m not at all coming from a place of calm.
I suspect that “urgent” really means “I’ll keep myself so busy that I can’t possibly worry about what might go wrong with this long-awaited event”. I suspect this, because if it happens that the urgent task doesn’t get done, by the time I return, I don’t even think about it.
Is this a habit of yours too? Even with important tasks, some may not be as important as I believe. The question then is: will it matter tomorrow? How will I feel tomorrow, a month or a year from now if I don’t finish this? Will it really matter in the long run?
Even more revealing is asking: what will matter tomorrow, a month or a year from now? What are you doing now that will help you grow and thrive tomorrow?
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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist. To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .