Do First, What Matters Most

This last couple of weeks have been screaming with activities, errands, appointments.

Top that off with Halloween and 9-year-old Spider Queen rippling and crackling with energy, as well as, late nights, time changes, and other odds and ends and it’s no wonder I’m feeling frazzled and stressed. Worried about all that wasn’t  getting everything done, instead of marveling at all that was.

I started feeling as though something was wrong because I wasn’t super human and willing to work around-the-clock on days without sleep to to accomplish the deadlines and doctors’ appointments and grocery shopping and washing and everything else. I worried, rather than letting go and just showing up to do my best.

But, eventually, I found perspective. I know that I am no longer willing to forgo my peace and health, not willing to give up the goodness in my life just to get the to-do list done. So why stress?

I asked myself this question, of course, even while stressing.

Do What Matters

It was Wednesday, I had an early appointment, and a special lunch planned with my mom, who’d come into town at the last moment. And, a list three pages long of OTHER things I should be doing.

I debated cancelling the lunch and appointment so that I could work, and fold clothes, and do bookkeeping. But, then I didn’t because when it came right down to it, I realized that day was filled with two things: My health. My family. Two of my top values.

I met with the doctor and took care of my health. Had a fabulous, uninterrupted lunch with my mom, just the two of us – that NEVER happens — and took care of my family. In other words, I took care of myself by living close to my values rather than taking on the should-dos.

I’ve written about this before, the doing of the essential things and letting the should-dos go. I believe it. Yet still, under the crush of an engaged, and interesting, and full life, I forget it myself. It’s easy to rattle around doing the most pressing thing first, but that isn’t always the most important. It isn’t always essential. And when you spend most of your time on the unessentials, you wind up feeling stressed and depleted.

So, when you are feeling harried and hurried stick to the three things that matter most. Do those first. Bonus points if they align with your values – and they really should because let’s not give too much time to the things that don’t. When you do this you’ll feel more energized, happier, more able to finish up the rest of the things on the list. If they still matter.

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