Thursday, March 4, 2010

On time!

I have to say it: I love you guys!  Most of you I don't know, but I really  appreciate the space to share, explore and get feedback.  Just one comment or question can stir an entire wave of thought and action.

Last time I wrote about being late and wanting to be curious about that.  I received a great comment about making being on time a priority.  That started me thinking: What do I prioritize when I am preparing to leave my home?  Honestly, I prioritize everything being in good shape so that when I come back home, I don't have a crisis to manage.  So anything that even slightly suggests I will have more work to do when I get back home, flashes like a huge neon light saying 'Do It Now'.  That is funny, because so many other things flash another sign 'Do It Later'.   I must think about that...  Anyway, back to the lateness.  So getting where I am gong early or on time has a lower priority than damage prevention at home.

The concern about damage at home isn't confined to the moments immediately after I get back home, but can be extrapolated into the near or distant future.  I seem to enjoy taking all the things I see in the moment that I don't like and projecting them into the future, and scaring myself into a flurry of activity.  What if Jaedon keeps throwing stuff behind the couch? (so I stop to add encouraging, energetic, enthusiastic words aimed at stopping this activity) What if they don't eat well and develop all the ailments that come from junk food?  What if...?  As the what ifs run through my mind, I race around trying to put them out, multitasking like a maniac!  Before I can even recognize the path I'm on, another demand rushes in, another voice, the phone....  Too many priorities...

So on this matter of priorities, I am realizing 2 things:
  • Prioritizing the experimentation with fear and the resulting flurry of activity isn't helping me get where I'm going on time (among other things).  While I continue to look at the value of scaring myself, my gratitude shortcut to happiness helps me regain focus in the moment.  I take a moment, look at the fear and let it go.
  • There are some legitimate priorities that I juggle.  I want to prepare food and whatever else for the children to help whoever will be holding the fort in my absence.  If I am traveling with the children, I want to be prepared for the eventualities that I know about because being prepared helps me feel more comfortable during those trips.  I want to prioritize both my preparedness and my getting where I'm going on time!  
The challenge with multiple priorities is one that many face.  You know about the cost, quality, time triangle, right?  It basically says that there is no such thing as a cheap, good quality product that was made quickly.  Say you are prioritizing both cheap travel and getting to France quickly... It will be a rough trip!  Or it may take a long time to become someone like a flight attendant or someone else who qualifies for cheap travel.  With multiple priorities, there will likely be a trade-off.  If I have limited time and multiple priorities, chances are, I will be late.  If I give myself more than adequate time, and focus on only the legitimate priorities, I can be on time!

Priorities in Action!
Monday 4pm is Zachary's theater class.  I reminded myself of my shifted priority.  We will be on time. To ensure that, I decided that we would be early, and have our snack in the car while waiting for the class to start.  The usual things happened that tempted me to pay attention to them and I resisted.  The house was a mess.  Zachary was his usual dawdling self, so he didn't get to have his snack before leaving.  I was prepared, since I had planned for him, and had the snack in the car.  I decided that I did not need to prioritize the children's independence, so I choose clothes and did not entertain discussions. (maybe I will learn to do that differently, since there was a fair amount of unhappiness including my own...)  We got to the class with 5 minutes to spare! I was very excited!  

I decided to try for a repeat performance the next morning.  The Art class is at 10:30 a.m.  I started programming the children in the car ride back home from theater class.  I made some decisions on other smaller priorities to throw out or postpone and I stayed in the moment.  We got there at 10:34 a.m. which was the best we had ever done in the 3 weeks of art so far.

My Learnings:
  • Reminder: telling others about my wants helps me crystalize my thinking and go further along the road of figuring out how to get what I want
  • I can change around priorities anytime I want
  • It helps me to keep reminding myself of new priorities
  • Taking a few minutes to figure out what the new priority will look like in real life helped me figure out what small steps I had to take to get what I wanted
  • Talking to the other parties involved helps with buy-in!
  • Celebrate all the small steps along the way!
Iris asked a great question about why I am distracting myself from being on time with the things I'm making a priority....Hmmm.


  1. Faith, really nice. Isn't it amazing how many of our priorities are simply there because they were there the day before? I'm going to remind myself throughout the day to stop and ask, "Now why am I doing this?" Tef

  2. Faith, I have so many things I am doing in last minute before leaving. I guess that it could be usefull for me to write a list and decide on which things I do not need to do - and on which things are more important than being on time.
    - maybe I would then have more time to check on hair and make-up... these seems to be part of what have to be done on the way or not at all...


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