Do you ever wish you could just freeze time? I’m not talking about freezing a joyful moment so it can last forever, I’m talking about stretching a moment in time just a little longer, so you can actually get something done.
I find myself wishing for this on an almost daily basis – usually at the peak of a good caffeine buzz – I think the same echoing thought, “If I could just go uninterrupted for another 3 hours (or however many), I’d get this done”. There’s always some other responsibility rushing forward. How can a person focus fully on the task at hand when the next one is looming over their shoulder?
Before you get too excited, I’m not claiming to have the answer. In fact, I’m in the middle of one of those moments and writing frantically before my time is up. It’s a classic syndrome of over-booking oneself. I like to think of it as an adverse side effect of optimism. If you’re too optimistic about time-management, you’re sure to under-estimate how long a task truly takes.
Or perhaps you’re well aware of how long something takes, but instead, you put too much onto yourself anyway. For money. A promotion. A sick parent. Whatever the reason, at some point we all find ourselves speeding through time faster than we’d like. Recently, I started to question why I always seem to be ‘overbooked’ – I’ve been this way as long as I can remember.
And is it really a bad thing? While it’s a fact that living this way causes me stress, it’s also a fact that I’m NEVER bored. Is it possible that we ‘overbook’ ourselves out of the fear of boredom? And if so, why? What’s so scary about just ‘being’?
When I try to think of the last time I was bored, I can’t recall the specifics, but I recall the feeling… I felt depressed. To a busy-body (like me), boredom is lonely with a side of shame. It shines a spotlight on the absence of passion. Maybe it’s my own defense mechanism, but boredom bullies me into overbooking myself. I take too much on, because without a task – without a purpose – I am lost. Alone. Bored.
Instead, I, and others like me, fill our plates too full. We pack our schedules morning, noon and night. We create unrealistic to-do lists and get down on ourselves when we don’t check off enough boxes, or – heaven forbid – any boxes, on a given day. And at the same time, we wonder why we don’t have enough hours in a day to get stuff done.
Maybe the real problem is that we have unrealistic expectations about how we should be spending our days. Perhaps we should stop measuring the quality of a day by how many items are checked off a list, and instead by how well we accomplish a given item. Yep… I’m suggesting quality over quantity, because it feels amazing to do something well! And if we allow ourselves to invest real time and care into completing a task, we may also find ourselves to be choosier about what goes onto our list to begin with.
Let’s put an end to doing an “OK” job at everything that comes our way, at overfilling our to-do lists with menial tasks (Like putting ‘go to bathroom’ on a to-do list, you know who you are!) … And instead allow ourselves to do an amazing job at one or two things a day. Really. Maybe then, we can even find the time to do something fun, just for us.
And if we’re lucky, we may even start wishing to freeze a moment again – except this time it will be because we DO wish to cherish it, and not just fit in one…more…thing.