There are 40 days left in this year. Where are you on your goals or resolutions for 2017? Do you feel good about what you accomplished thus far? Did you keep your resolutions? Or did your good intentions get lost in the busyness of life and are now up for reconsideration in 2018? We can all be victims of the “too busy” scenarios that take over our days, leaving us exhausted and out of time.
But are we, in fact, too busy?
The standard answer to how things are going at work is “busy.” It’s akin to the answer to how are you – “good.” The response slips easily off the tongue but it explains very little and conceals much. It is vague and all-encompassing but not specific. Alternatively, it is not acceptable to say, “I am not busy,” since that would indicate you don’t have enough work or you are possibly incompetent for your position. Everyone wants to be busy or at least appear to be busy because busy indicates occupied and vital.
Currently, I am decidedly not busy. It feels great too! But this is not to say I am lazy or have nothing to do. In fact, I feel more productive than ever. For me, there is a significant difference between busy and productive. I structure my days and set specific times for things I want to achieve. I keep my 2017 intentions and goals accessible so that I can refer to them often. I am flexible enough to move priorities around but stringent enough to get done what matters to me on a weekly basis. My Virgo qualities are handy helpers in staying organized and on track.
The best outcome though, in my decidedly not busy life, is that I get to be creative and explore. Writing a book is lot of work that takes considerable commitment. When I’ve grown weary of text, I write poetry, something I enjoyed previously but never made a consistent part of my efforts. Now, I write poetry daily. I carry notebooks with me wherever I go and jot down ideas and lines that become poems. I have written enough poetry that I may publish those too.
Right about now, you are thinking – nice for you, the rest of us have real jobs. Well, this is my REAL job. The one that I signed up for at the beginning of 2017. My work is as a writer. I am no less engaged than I was in any job I had in the past. In truth, I am more engaged than ever. It is partially because I do what I love but it is also because I have taken control of my time, making the hours when I write the absolute centre of my purpose.
I am not bragging (well maybe a little) but this is the first year that I can honestly say that I took my 2017 “resolutions” seriously. I did the things that I set out to do. Not all of them went the way I imagined or hoped. There were disappointments. But for each item on my 2017 list there have been actions and accomplishments. I checked the boxes all down the list. It gives me enormous satisfaction knowing that I did what I said I would do, and there was only me to hold me accountable.
Here’s what I learned that I would like to share with you. Inspiration does not precede action. You cannot wait to be inspired to go do something. It is in the doing of things that inspiration shows up and takes hold. Poetry was not a part of my writing intentions for 2017 and yet they have become a significant part of what I am proud of in my writing repertoire.
I wrote my way into poems and fell in love with them. If you wait to be inspired to do what is on your annual list of resolutions you may find yourself at the tail end of a year wondering why, yet again, your dreams did not get off the ground. I have been there and know it well.
I encourage you to enter the remaining 40 days of 2017 with a mindset of “do” and see what you can reclaim from your list of resolutions. Or if those are obsolete, create a new list. Slow down the busy at work and at home. Plan your day, choose actions and commit to them. Set specific times for email and phone calls. Rebuild ownership and structure into your daily agenda. Start small if you must. Take a lunch break and go for a walk to revive your energy and thinking. At night, take a bath or read a book, or do both at the same time. They will renew calm and introduce new ideas.
Do at least one thing a day that fills the longing spaces deep inside you.
We can spend our lives being “too busy” to do what we will someday wish we had made a priority. Do what you love. Because if you love what you do, you will tell people exactly what that is and offer details of excitement. You deserve to light up when you describe your daily activities.
Go light up the world one action on your list at a time!