It’s that time of year again – the time of resolutions and good intentions. Be more organized. Get rid of clutter. Start the year with a clean slate. Clear your to-do list. Be more productive. I’m always fired up with enthusiasm at the beginning of January, ready to take on the world. I’m going to have my house running like clockwork, my family organised and ready for every eventually. And I do – for about three weeks. Then all my good intentions start to return to comfortable familiarity and I find myself doing things at the last minute, muttering about why I’m always the last to find out about anything.
I mentioned this to a friend recently who recommended that I should listen to a recording of a motivational speaker talking about being more productive. How can I possibly be more productive, I wondered, I’m busy through every moment of the day! But listening to him talking (whilst doing about four other things) made me actually sit down and stop for a moment and think. Most of us are busy all of the time, but we’re not actually that productive. How much do we actually achieve in a day?
The basis of the talk (and here I must confess that I’ve only heard about half of it – there have been too many other things to do recently, including a small celebration that you may have heard of called Christmas!) is that we should do less things, do them more often and get better at them. Do less things? But there are so many things that I need to do every day – how can I possibly do less of them? The world is such a big place, there are so many experiences, so many things to try, places to go, people to see – surely we need to pack more into our lives, not less?
I asked my husband about this. “I’ve been telling you about this for years,” he said (although I pretended not to know what he meant). “By doing too many things at once you end up not doing anything very well at all and just wear yourself out and feel as if you haven’t achieved anything when you might actually have done a lot. Doing less actually gives you more time.”
I have to be honest, he has been telling me this for years. He often comes home to find me doing half-a-dozen things at once, and yes, I do get frustrated at the end of the day when I feel as if I’ve spent the day in a rush and haven’t finished everything I wanted to do. So perhaps it’s time to listen to the words and take some notice. Take the time to work out what’s really important to me and focus on that, not worry about all the experiences I think I might be missing out on. Do less things, do them more often, get better at them. As resolutions go, it’s not too bad.