I find that it is extremely easy to get mired down in my work to do list. It’s always pretty long and I could easily work 10-12 hours a day. The past week or so, I’ve been finding that my computer is staying on longer and longer each night, and I’ve been choosing to give up other activities so that I can tick things off that list.
I love what I do. And I love the extra projects that I am taking on – such as this one. However, I am more than my work. And sometimes I need to remember that.
I read something today that struck me. I’ve been devouring the book CrazyBusy by Dr. Edward M. Hallowell. I highly recommend it. He has great insights into our modern society and the demands upon our time and attention. In one of his chapters – entitled The Central Solution – he does a riff on the Serenity Prayer. The original prayer goes like this:
God grant me the serenity
to the accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Powerful words in themselves. But Dr. Hallowell tweaks it to the following:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The insight to prioritize wisely what I want to change;
The patience to resist trying to control everything I could, had I the energy and time;
The courage and skill to change the things I have chosen to change;
And the wisdom to know the differences among all these.
It’s such a hard line. I am, by nature, someone who wants to control everything. And when I decide to make a change, I usually charge forward, guns ablazing. If things don’t go as I want, or if I don’t have time to do all that I think I should, I tend to work harder and longer in an effort to get the results I want. Which usually only stresses me out more, which leaves life pretty miserable.
Instead, what I need to work on is prioritizing. I need to dictate how I want to spend my life and not let my to-do list control my life. And not only do I need to let go of the things over which I have no control – I need to let go of the things over which I could have control, but are not a priority. It is through this that I will find the balance that I crave.