Lesson #2: One thing at a time.

This Lesson is really a work in progress. It has a loose link to a Lesson on Honesty, but that’s a subject for another post. Or maybe not. What it boils down to is that I have a problem: I over-commit. I estimate that a thing will take less time to do than it will, and I imagine that I have more time available for doing it than I do. Then I try to move heaven and earth to achieve what I have committed to, and I have about a fifty-fifty success rate. Sometimes less.

I don’t like to say “I can’t“. There are lots of reasons for this and it is the subject of yet another Lesson. Two Lessons, in fact, since Rest is another.

To compensate, I try to do many things at once. I imagine that I will achieve all that I set out to do if I set out to do all that I have committed to do. Instead, what happens is that I drop all the balls. I end up with severe stress paralysis and Waste Time. I lose sleep and become ill. And I fret.

Last minute panic. Story of my life.
Last minute panic. Story of my life.

So this Lesson is about taking things one step at a time. Every time I get that stomach-sinking “oh-no-I’ve-dropped-another-ball” feeling, I take a deep breath, pray to God to work it out somehow, and tackle the task at hand. I try to set reasonable goals for each day, and then deal with them one-at-a-time, in order of priority.

It takes Planning and Preparation, and I often skip that step because I’m so busy. But without that crucial step, I end up staring blankly in panic-stricken dread at my overwhelming little computer monitor, and snap at the girls for needing my attention.

Not great.

Many years ago I worked for a Big Corporate in a Big City. It was a great job which I loved at the time and which, in retrospect, I appreciate now more than ever. We went on a lot of training, and one course was titled, “Critical Chain Theory”. It was a workshop to demonstrate that people get more done individually and corporately if they focus on one task from start to finish, rather than on many tasks at once. Powerful stuff. The presenter went on to explain so-called “Student Syndrome”. Apparently we find the tasks on our plate lack challenge, so we create an artificial challenge by leaving things to the last minute, so that the stress of missing the deadline creates a substitute for the technical challenge we crave. He was kind enough to say that this affliction was suffered most by the Highly Gifted. Aw. I don’t know about that but I do know I’m a chronic sufferer, and I wish my insurance would recognise and cover the ailment!

This Lesson really IS a work in progress, but it is also the reason I’m heading for bed now, instead of pushing through to try and cling to the tail end of the deadline that just whizzed by my right ear, taking a fraction of fine, downy ear-fluff with it!

Good night!

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