’Tis the season for one more thing – one more cookie, one more gathering, one more decoration, gift, or craft.
It’s tough being human. We have a lot of wants to manage in a mere 24 hours. In a season of lots of wants, we get to navigate our priorities to help us make decisions. How do we do it?
Start with what you value. We recently moved our office and had to shift our day-to-day priorities to accommodate the time and work of moving. For a few weeks, this meant packing and shuttling boxes while completing client and Reach Partners’ work. We value collaboration and beauty. Having warm, light-filled space to work in by ourselves and with others is well-worth the balancing act.
Recognize capacity. Working conditions, health, support, energy levels, the type of work, and factors outside of our control can all affect our capacity. Regardless, capacity is limited. During the move, we recognized we could not do everything. To make things bearable, we decided not to schedule client work. We answered emails with an out-of-office message and planned activities around time to rest. Make a plan or life will make it for you.
Plan ahead. Imagine what time and space you need to do one more thing. When you anticipate what is needed, you maximize your effectiveness.
Add some self-compassion. Recognize that it’s tough being human. We have a lot to do, and have feelings about making choices or having choices being made for us. You are not alone.
Give yourself space. We talk about space as the time between activities. For us, this time mirrors what is critical for our bodies to function: rest, the complement to the action. Rest is where we compress, consolidate, and absorb what was just learned. Rest is where we passively think through a problem or gain energy to problem-solve the next challenge.
When our wise friend Jodee talks about priorities, she uses the metaphor of rocks in a jar. First, name rocks that represent those things you value, for example: family connection, exercise, play, beauty and creative work, conversation. Place these rocks inside a jar.
Jodee reminds us that we can’t add more rocks than there’s room for. We also can’t get a bigger jar. And don’t buy into the idea that you can add pebbles, sand and water to represent smaller priority items and jam your jar to the brim. Only the big rocks go into this jar.
Now notice the space between the rocks. That's your space; it's not room for one more thing.
Your partners in leadership.