When You Can’t Get It All Done

     We all get an idea in our head of what we should be able to accomplish in a day. We wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to get our list of things taken care of. As the day goes on, we realize that the list is not going to get done. In fact, we might only get one item on the list accomplished. When we see that the hours in the day are dwindling and the checklist is not, we become discouraged. We start to treat ourselves harshly. We wonder why we cannot accomplish what others are seemingly able to do with ease. Our self-doubts and criticism saps us of our energy. As energy drains, so does our motivation. We start to think that we will never accomplish even a basic level of tasks. As the day draws nearer to a close, we may simply give up in frustration.

Is There Really That Much Time?

     To determine if there really is enough time in the day, it helps to open a planner and actually write down each individual item that we are going to do that day. Include even the small minute tasks, because those tasks also take up time. Like the way small change at a gas pump creates a big bill, each small task adds up into one big time frame. Also, on the planner, we should remember to add in time in between tasks for travel, clean up, organizing children, or other prep work that has to be done.

     Tasks don’t really go perfectly each time we do them. Even if we have had a lot of practice with a task, the task doesn’t actually go as planned. As we are writing down each task in our organizer, it helps to add in some buffer time in between each task. This buffer time will be used for unforeseen difficulties with the task. If left to chance alone, each task will go horribly bad 20 percent of the time. Without a buffer of time in between tasks, 20 percent extra time with one task can throw off the entire schedule for the following tasks.

     After we have written down each task, we will likely notice that there actually isn’t enough real time in a day to accomplish everything that we think we can accomplish. When we realistically put down on paper how much time it takes to prep, organize people, do the task, correct errors, and clean up, we realize that we are often expecting ourselves to accomplish more than can be reasonably accomplished in a single day.

Pruning Your List

     When people are proficient at something, it is usually after they have pored a gigantic amount of time into their area of expertise. This cannot be accomplished if they are trying to be an expert at everything. Hence the saying, “a jack of all trades is a master of none.” Becoming an expert in one area often means we are sacrificing other areas. Everything comes with a price. We pay, with time, for the task we are accomplishing. Added into the payment, is the lost opportunity to do something else with the time we spent doing the task.

     People who want large fruit on their trees, prune their trees. A tree will feed all of its branches with a finite amount of energy. The energy will be spread evenly. If there isn’t enough energy to grow all the fruit into maturity, all of the fruit will remain small.  When people prune trees, they do so knowing that the tree will have less branches to divert energy to. This will allow the tree to divert more energy into the remaining branches. This will ensure that the fruit will have enough energy to grow into maturity.

Everything we do costs us time and the lost opportunity to do something else with our time. We cannot fully grow our proficiency in all areas. There will be areas that we will sacrifice. There will be areas that we will cut off. The key will be to know which tasks to sacrifice and which tasks to become proficient in.

Value What You Value

When we see someone we admire do something we wish we could do, we should not compare our inefficiencies to their efficiency. They are efficient in one area because of tremendous sacrifices they have made in other areas. We are proficient in other areas because of the sacrifices we have made. We became proficient in a specific area, because we demonstrated through our expenditure of time that we value that area. Because we valued a specific area, we became less proficient in another area. We can be proud of the area that we value. We can feel pride in our proficiency in that area. We should also recognize that our proficiency in that area came at the cost of being less proficient in other areas, and that’s okay. There is a finite amount of time in our day. It is okay if we prune our branches.