Intentionally and unintentionally, I’ve done a lot of mentoring as of late. Time consuming, but immensely rewarding. A pattern of advice has emerged through the process; here’s one such exercise I’ve recommended several times this past month to help people with busy schedules maintain sanity and liberty within their own lives.
I call this the
Do I Have Time for X? Test
Complete this test whenever you are positioned to add something onto your already bursting plate of “shit-to-do:”
- Grab a pen & big piece of paper.
- Find a secluded space for 5-10 minutes.
- Without any hesitation, start writing down all of the things that you have on your mind as they come to you—all of the things you know/think you have to do, all of the special events you need to attend, all of the obligations you’ve been saddled with. Do not pay attention to the order, just write them down as quickly as you can, with as much detail as you care to add in that moment. Write until you have to strain to think of things on your plate. In my experience, once you write down some semblance of “eating,” all the important stuff has been penned.
- Now, just soak in that list. Note that the really important things are the ones at the top, the things that you should probably care more about are in the middle, and try to find the neglected item near the middle or bottom that really should be at the top of the list. Pay attention to the fact that your personal well-being and health probably didn’t make the list.
- Now, think about that thing, X, that you were contemplating adding to this list. Is this thing more important than the first half of the list? If not, you probably shouldn’t do X.
Look what I edited recently! It was definitely something I didn’t have time for in the grand scheme of my list: