Merlin Mann is a technologist, a productivity specialist, and a professional provocateur. I mention the last part because he has the tendency to say things that are true and useful, but in a rather blunt way.
During one of his fabulous podcasts (Back To Work) he was describing a question and answer session with a group of top level executives at a very large company.
One of the execs was asking about how to manage her time and her inbox. She was describing how she had so many priorities that it was impossible to get anything done.
Merlin asked her how many priorities she had. Without skipping a beat she replied, “Twenty-seven!”
Merlin’s response: “You eventually learn that true priorities are like arms; if you think you have more than a couple, you’re either lying or crazy.”
To put it another way: If everything is important then nothing is important.
There Is Just Too Much! I’m Overwhelmed!
There are things that we can do to manage our time better. There things we can do to organize our to-do list more effectively.
But the truth is, no matter how well we manage our time and and our tasks there is only so much time in each day. That is nothing that we can do to expand it.
Bearing that in mind, it is more than likely that you are trying to do too much and you are claiming too many tasks are priorities.
There are things in your life that you are doing that are no longer serving you. There are things in your life that you are doing out of obligation. There are things in your life that might be good and useful, but because you don’t have the time or energy they are being done in a half-hearted way.
There aren’t enough time management tools in the world to fix that. (And you really don’t have the time to read them all anyway.)
The answer is understanding what your true priorities are.
Not the things you would like to be priorities. Not the things that others think are priorities for you. Not the things you think should be priorities because of how they make you look.
It is time to figure out what your THREE priorities are.
More than likely a giant knot just showed up in your stomach. Or some colorful metaphor (“Gene you blankity blank blank. There is no way I only have three priorities. You blank!”) just zipped through your head.
I don’t blame you. I had the same reaction when I started thinking this way.
Figuring out what those three priorities is a topic for another time. First, we need to be open to the fact that we can shed some things from our life that are no longer serving us.
Even if you don’t get it down to just three, letting go of those things that are no longer useful and will put a dent in the feeling of overwhelm.
Tap to this:
Right now my life is filled with so many things that feel important…But it has been a really long time since I checked to see if they really are important to me…Some of the things were important at one time…Some of them were useful at one time…But they no longer are…I give myself permission to let them go…Even though I needed them at one point…There are lots of things in my life that are there because other people think they are important…They think it is best for me…They think it is best for them…Even though others have this expectation for me…I give myself permission to let them go…If they don’t serve me…I need to let them go…I can let them go…I let them go…Even if I eliminate one thing from my day it will make a difference…I don’t need to figure it out for ever…I don’t have to have it exactly right…I don’t have to have it perfect…But if I do it this it will make a difference in the long term.
Print this script out. Tap with it every morning this week. All of a sudden you will find yourself letting go of things that are no longer useful.
Is this script powerful enough to completely reorganize your life? Probably not, but even if you found 15 minutes a day that would be like gaining another 90 hours over the course of a year.
Looking For More Help?
If you are ready to take the next step in figuring out what your three priorities are and want to find a way to tap for them in way that will lead you to a more balanced life please check out the Ruach Center. It has been designed to help you do just that!