“This constant, unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy.”
– Kerry Gleeson from the Personal Efficiency Program
Schools out for summer!
To kick-off summer, I hired a babysitter for a few hours on Thursday afternoon. I had hit a wall, and itched to ease into summer with a moment of “me time.”
Recharging myself clears my mind, and sets the pace for the summer – a relaxed pace, driven more by the weather than the clock.
I visited Frank Lloyd Wright‘s house in Oak Park. Finally!
Every June, I print two lists – one personal and one scholastic. My personal list contains activities, special events, restaurants, parks, workouts to try. I gather and type up ideas the months leading up to summer break.
I have general to-do items: Life upkeep that gets shuffled away in the nitty-gritty of the school year, like, oh, shifting through piles of artwork and re-organizing closets.
I’ve had a few unwieldy goals sit, unaccomplished, on my summer to-do list for like, FOREVER!
Painting guest room dressers and visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, to name two.
Several years ago, I read the novel Loving Frank. I was intrigued by the fictional account from Mamah Borthwick’s perspective about the illicit love affair she had with Wright at the turn of the 20th century.
Afterward, I added tour Frank Lloyd Wright house to my master list.
And there it sat.
For the last two summers, I had “go to the Frank Lloyd Wright House in Oak Park” on my list.
My procrastination was nibbling at me. Just ever so slightly.
Did I really want to visit it?
As I experienced that afternoon, yes. I was inspired by the famous architect’s innovation.
The geometric shapes and natural lighting:
The bay windows and built-in furniture:
The ingenious use of space:
What was holding me back?
In part, quotidien life trumped my back-burner list. Trying a new park is easy and habit: My girls are an everyday reminder. Wright was not pressing, so it could wait.
But the biggest culprit: My life balance was off the mark, and needed a facelift.
I had two major changes this school year: I was trained in the Leader in Me program, and I bought an iphone.
During the training, I learned about the seventh habit. Franklin Covey’s choice of words, sharpening the saw, does not resonate with me. I’m not a lumberjack, so clumsy I should barely be near a kitchen knife. However, the concept of preserving and enhancing yourself – sign me up! I understand the need to treat it. By his terms, it means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual.
Wright was a good reminder to draft my life, eyes open to the four aspects of my well-being:
The second change, focused on the organization of my lists. My personal list was a paper list that I barely glanced at once summer got rolling. My can-wait items were tossed aside, forgotten. Using the reminders app on my iphone, I created three lists for this summer:
- Summer for girls
- Summer for me
- Summer for school
I jotted (and continue to jot) down items in each category. If the item is a real back-burner, I put reminders on my calendar to get into the habit. Then I move the items from the above lists to the my weekly lists: Labeled Day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
The days are fluid and if an item is not done on Day 1, I move it to Day 6 or Day 1 the next week. Whatever. But this system helps me accomplish what I want to do in a given week. If not, no big deal and I can come back to it the next week.
What is simmering on your personal back-burner? What method do you use to ensure you get items off your can-wait list and onto your to-do list?
Fun fact: Wright’s son, John, invented Lincoln logs. Building miniature forts = brilliant!
Ciao for now.