As Soon Or As Possible?
I've been doing a lot of work lately on setting goals, building better habits, and having a coherent vision for the future.
I'm a work in progress with this kind of planning, but I have to say that it feels good to be making an effort. I'll have to give myself grace along the way, though.
But as I've been reading and doing research on how to do this well, I've discovered that there are a lot of us out there who are trying to do the same after having spent two years learning to work and live in a different world than the one that existed before the pandemic.
The one issue that seems to be at the forefront of so many minds is the notion of work/life balance. In other words, how do we find a way to keep from letting our tasks run our life and not the other way around?
This has been one of the most challenging things that most of us have faced, significantly when the lines between home and work have been blurred, and we struggle to push back against a culture of immediacy and the tyranny of the urgent.
Let me explain that last line.
The way our world seems to work these days is grounded in a culture of immediacy, directly related to how fast we can respond to the various communications we receive throughout the day.
For example, a co-worker, friend, or relative texts you, and you don't respond right away because you are busy, and then they begin texting you again, wondering if you got the first text and why you haven't gotten back to them immediately.
We've all been there. And many of us have been the person wondering why we haven't been texted back, too.
We also succumb to the tyranny of the urgent when it comes to the tasks before us.
We find ourselves staring at our list of things to do and wondering what needs doing first.
Then people send emails, group chats occur, deadlines loom, and before we know it, we're feeling overwhelmed and having a hard time figuring out how to prioritize what has to get done as opposed to what everyone else in our lives believes needs to get done.
I found this great quote from marketing and business guru Seth Godin the other day:
"'As soon as possible' is a trap if you focus on soon instead of possible."
I need that printed on a big placard and put in front of my desk daily. I tend to focus on the soon aspect of "As soon as possible," even when whatever I believe needs to be quickly done isn't possible.
I also need to have these words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount printed and placed right next to the previous quote:
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (Matthew 6:27, NIV)
There are, after all, just so many hours in a day. And if you spend those hours spinning and worrying about getting all the things you think you need to get done, you lose sight of why you are doing what you're doing in the first place.
Some of those tasks before you might need to go on the back burner for a while (or forever) because there are more life-giving things you should spend your time and energy on, some of which you've ignored to do the "urgent" stuff.
And at the end of the day (every day), you should know that in the eyes of God, who loves you more than you can know, you are enough no matter what.
More than enough.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.