The lie about time
There is always something on the to-do list that doesn’t get checked off. It usually isn’t a high priority, rather a strong preference to get it done. The preference is strong enough, however, to take up residence in your mind and on your to-do list.
For some, getting to inbox zero is a high priority. An inbox with e-mails waiting for a response is equivalent to items on a to-do list. For others, it is cleaning out the basement or finding a home for the 100s of Legos on the kitchen table. In the professional realm, it is the 1-2 things on your to-do list that keep getting moved from the old to the new list.
The bare truth of the situation isn't that you don’t have the time, it is that you don’t want to do it.
I remember working towards inbox zero before I left work to have a baby. Outlook was set-up to automatically archive e-mails older than 6 months. As I searched all my folders for red Outlook flags (absolute highest priority), I noticed that some red flag e-mails were almost a year old. I decided to delete all the e-mails that were older than 6 months. As I worked through the last 20 e-mails, of my 6 months or less inbox, I realized that I didn’t want to deal with them. It was the slowest weeks of my job so I had the time to do them. I just didn’t want to do it.
I have closed several cases in the past month and time has become available to get “bottom of the pile” tasks done. Are they done? No. They are on my list for today. Will a few get done today? Unless an emergency happens this afternoon, I have several hours of uninterrupted time to get the work done.
My point is that now, when I have the time, my list will only budge if I can find a way to motivate myself to get things done. It isn’t about time, it is about the right frame of mind.
If it is work related, I need to mentally coach myself that I have a responsibility to my clients and my practice to get done what needs to be done. If it is related to home, I need to determine if I want to buckle down and do it or if I’d rather take the time to rest and do things I enjoy. Legos have been on the table for more than two years in various forms. A few more weeks won’t make a difference.