Back in October, as I was striving to find balance in my life and juggling all of my time demands, I wrote about the concept of “big rocks.” The idea is to prioritize in terms of what is most important to you. These items are your big rocks. I established mine as Writing, Health and Frankie. It’s now almost six months later and after a brief interlude of sanity, I’m back to struggling. My big rocks are sinking me.
So, I’ve taken a pickaxe to them. I don’t think this is what Stephen R. Covey had in mind when he introduced the concept of big rocks in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Don’t get me wrong — the exercise has been helpful. Knowing what the most important things are in the larger picture of my life is invaluable. It helps me every day when I scan the to-do list and decide what can wait. I’m just sick of the carry over. If I have to look at ~organize photos on computer~ one more day, I’m liable to lose it.
This past week, my big rocks took some major hits. After much discussion with my writing coach, it was decided that instead of the time-consuming written critiques I’d been doing on the computer, I’d provide only verbal feedback to my fellow writers. We also discussed the option of attending the group once, instead of twice a month. I don’t think I’ll do that since it would take away from my “me time.” (More on that later.)
I took a major chunk out of my Health rock when I put the gym on hold for two months. Disabled gym goers have one advantage. We may have fewer places where we can work out independently, but at least there’s no contract allowing a health club to continually suck fees from a checking account regardless of attendance.
Lastly, I asked my mom to take Frankie more. She misses him. He loves visiting her. It’s a win-win situation. In fact, as I write these words in peaceful solitude, he’s over there bugging her cat instead of mine.
After I had more manageable pebbles to deal with, I made some new rules. Rule 1 — schedule only one appointment per day. By the time you add in the time it takes me to ride the bus there and back, we’re talking about a half day anyway. Rule 2 — Keep one weekday free from appointments. I mean really free. No grocery shopping, no lunch date, nothing. I’ve realized, particularly as a writer, how wonderful a large expanse of free time feels, how ripe with possibility. Never underestimate the mental well-being gained from having nothing on the calendar. For those of you with full-time jobs five days a week — I’m sorry. What can I say? This is one of those disability perks I talked about.
Having knocked time off my big rocks, I’m focusing on taking the next several weeks to resolve some major projects. This brings me to New Rule Number 3 — Only one big project at a time. This seems obvious enough, but last month I took on getting a new power chair, physical therapy for my shoulder and updating my website. No wonder I felt stressed.
Finally, if I can leave you with just one thought. Don’t sacrifice your “me time.” This is one area I never skimp on. My me time is sitting watching the waves with Frankie, going out with friends, or enjoying a meal in front of a recorded movie (I never eat on the run.) It may be a little selfish, but this way, if everything else crumbles, one thing is sure to survive — you.