Updated: Aug 2, 2019
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We are given 24 hours each day and a million and one things to accomplish. Simple math tells me that this isn’t possible. Everybody these days is talking about how busy they are. SO the ultimate question is: how do we prioritize?
I enjoy being busy and having long to-do lists. I’m not necessarily the person that puts something on their to-do list just for the satisfaction of crossing it off; rather, I like having everything written out so I can stop stressing about forgetting to do all one million and one tasks.
Side note: I almost wrote my college essay on my to-do lists...I threw that essay out real fast after realizing it made me sound a little (a lot) crazy.
Any who, the Notes section of my phone has over 200 lists, most of which are necessary. These include: things to buy at the grocery store, restaurants to try in LA and Nashville, collaborations to complete, clients to check in on, long-term projects, short-term projects, recipes to create, vlogs that need editing, blog posts to write, people to make plans with, ETC! Although my lists are comforting and keep me feeling grounded and sane, they can also make me feel overwhelmed and stressed knowing that I have so much work that has yet to be completed.
Being ambitious is beautiful and amazing. Being stressed is, unfortunately, not.
I have read countless articles on how to “be successful” and kick ass in this world. Within these, a lot of the advice about prioritizing your time is contradictory. Some say that we should focus on what we love and work on the things that feed our soul. Others say that we should do the things that need to get done, not the things we want to do. Some say that we must be efficient with our time and grind all day every day. Others say we should relax, slow down, and stop doing so much.
SO - what is a 21-year-old girl with 200 lists of super duper important things to do supposed to do with her 24 hours of precious time each day?
I have no idea...
What I do know is that I have a lot of priorities - loved ones, work, school, cooking, physical activity, creativity, MYSELF. What I also know is that I am most productive when I have some “grind all day every day” days and some “let’s chill and do nothing” days. I thrive when I work on what my soul absolutely loves, and I know working on the not-so-fun things that need to get done is crucial as well.
What I’m saying is that there is not one method for peak prioritizing and efficiency! Instead, we must prioritize what we will focus our energy on TODAY. Filling the hours of our lives is like choosing what to eat every day - we have different cravings, needs, available ingredients, and varying circumstances. Humans are not robots who run at 100% efficiency using one specific methodology (or diet, or exercise, or sleep schedule, or emotional processing system). We are ebbing and flowing constantly, so learning to tap into our unique states each day is the way to go.
Yes, I should probably prioritize FaceTiming an old friend instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. Yep, my studying should probably come before watching a movie. Yeah, my clients’ struggles are probably more important to me than online shopping. These are clear to me, but sometimes that still doesn’t matter. Sometimes the most important thing to do is stop, drop, scroll, chill out, and shop. And that is okay too!
The key for me is to recognize when I am prioritizing something, whether it is the “correct” or “incorrect” activity I am choosing, and roll with it. Accept my choices and myself. Embrace the day, lazy or productive. And keep chipping away at those 200 lists.
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The goal for me isn’t to reduce the number of things to do; rather, it is to accomplish one thing, cross it off the list, and set a goal even higher than that last one.