Away

January 14, 2022

I am not sure why, but every time Melissa goes away on a trip, I find myself compelled to work on the house by painting or reorganizing.  I think part of the reason is because I am sheepish that I have not been doing the same thing while she is here.  Another reason is because I know I have a set number of days to finish the tasks before Melissa returns.  I work at my own slow pace and do not feel compelled to accomplish anything on any given day.  This morning I started strong but found myself wavering from one task to the next.  I felt like the lady on the commercial who wakes up the next day and finds seven different projects she had started the night before and had yet to finish one.  Still, there is more time as Melissa will be away for several days.

One of the life learnings I have kept are the principles of Stephen R. Covey’s book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1988.  One of my takeaways is the quadrant for priorities developed on Habit 3, Put First Things First.  This habit involves having the discipline to prioritize your day-to-day actions based on what is most important, not what is most urgent.  This also means you need to plan so the important work is accomplished before it becomes urgent.  To do this will require you to be willing to say “no” to unimportant tasks, and to delegate other important tasks that you do not have time to complete.  While this makes sense, most people spend their time on urgent matters, and often urgent matters that are unimportant.  Then we tell ourselves we are at least getting “something” done.

All that said, it is not how I work on the house.  I have found it most effective for me to prioritize the tasks, and then begin working on those I want to accomplish, but that are not the most important.  I gauge my time until I am about half through Melissa’s time away before I work on the important tasks.  I know myself well enough to I realize the important things will get done primarily because I believe them to be important.  Yet it is often the unimportant frills that really make it “look” like I have accomplished something.  One of those tasks was to put together a shelf that has been sitting in our dining room since October.  It is assembled and now has pots sitting on it ready to be filled with succulents.  Sorry Stephen, while this may not work in business or even life in general, it works great for my reorganizing.

Thoughts:  One of my other gleanings from Habit 3 is that you should always maintain a primary focus on relationships and results, and only a secondary focus on time.  The real reason I work on completing tasks around the house when Melissa is away is about relationship.  Melissa and I often try and clean the house prior to going on a trip.  That way we are not overwhelmed by a mess when we get back.  While I am hardly a neat nick, it is nice to come home to a clean house.  For me this is especially true when you are not the one who cleaned it.  One of the things we seem to have lost over the last years is a primary focus on relationships and results.  We need to make all our relationships a priority if we are going to bring unity to our world.  Do the work.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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