So, we are 11 days into December…how are you doing with all of the things?
This is probably a good time to take an extra few minutes to yourself and figure out if things are unfolding as you had hoped.
Is there anything you meant to do so far that really needs to get done soon?
Is there anything on your list that you can decide not to do?
Do you want to change your priorities for the next few weeks?
Have you managed to find some space for yourself one way or another over the past 11 days? Maybe not every day but hopefully most days?
Remember, this is about YOU finding space in a way that works for YOU.
You don’t have to do the videos I share. You don’t have to meditate.
I just want you to find a way to be kind to yourself this month (and always!)
I have more to say on reassessing below but for those of you who might want to jump right to the videos, here they are:
The Chatty Part
I jumped to a conclusion.
I’ve been accessing Martha’s 2020 posts from her summary post of the whole Wellness Calendar series and I have to admit, I bristled at the name of today’s post as it was presented in the summary. Delay gratification? I don’t want to advise people who are trying to find space for themselves in their days to WAIT for anything – I want to encourage them to carve out time for self-care as soon as possible.
I mean, obviously delaying gratification can be a useful skill in many contexts but I don’t want to talk about it in this one.
However, my initial bristling quickly became a lesson in actually *reading* things and not jumping to conclusions.
Martha’s post is NOT about delaying your own gratification.
I really should have known better. Even if Martha had been writing about that, it would have been relevant and helpful and I could have built on what she had said, even if I took it in a different direction.
However, Martha wrote exactly the kind of post that I would have wanted her to.
Her post is about delaying other people’s gratification. It’s about not being ‘on call’ for other people’s schedules or whims. It’s about setting your own priorities and responding to other people’s priorities at a time that makes sense in your schedule.
I can definitely get behind that.
So, go read Martha’s post and then jump back here for my additions.
So, I hope Martha has convinced you to set your own priorities and to take charge of your time (even if you can only take charge of 5 minutes segments right now.)
But, if you are like me, you might have trouble setting priorities – especially this time of year when everything feels like it either must be done RIGHT NOW or that it can’t be done yet but it will be required in a busy flurry of activity later.
To help myself prioritize, I’ve made a list of questions to ask myself about my to do list at any given time and I thought they might be helpful for you, too.
Sometimes, I put these questions in a chart with my to list along the left side and the questions across the top so I have a visual indication of my priorities. Other times, I write each task on index cards and sort them or I just put a symbol next to them in my original list. Basically, I find a way to add the information to the tasks in a way that lets me compare the information.
So, here are the questions:
- Does this task have a deadline?
- Is this task taking up a lot of brainspace?
- Is this task part of a sequence of tasks? (e.g. – I have to buy eggs before I can make cookies)
- Does this task need to be done soon or could it wait? (this is different than a deadline. I have tasks on my list that I would like to get done sooner rather than later but realistically, they can wait if need be.)
- Is this something *I* am choosing to do/have to do or is it someone else’s request?
- Is this task fun?
- Can I get this done in just a few minutes and get it out of the way?
Once I have added this contextual information to the list, I have a better sense of what to do next.
If I have tasks with urgent deadlines, I can choose times to work on them as soon as possible. If something is taking up a lot of mental space, I can try to get that done right away so my brain feels better. If a task is part of a sequence, I can pick which one to start with. If a task can wait, I can make it a low priority. If it is a request from someone else (but not part of my assigned tasks at work) I can decide where it goes in my priorities and let them know when (or if) I will get to it. If the task is fun, I can choose to work on it during breaks from other tasks, I can choose to do it during non-work hours, or I can make it a priority on days that I have trouble getting started. And, if I determine that an important task can be done in just a few minutes (I use a timer!) I will pick the soonest possible time and plan to do that task then so I can get it out of the way.
And, of course, having all of this information presented together lets me prioritize any tasks that are in multiple categories – so, for example, a fun task that takes up a lot of brainspace and has a deadline will get done before someone else’s task that is third in a sequence of tasks.
Now, I’m not saying that I can do this once for my list and be done with it. Other people’s priorities creep up on me all of the time (and sometimes it is not worth the internal emotional cost of turning them down.) And, since challenges with prioritizing is one of the ways that my ADHD shows up, I can’t always stick with my plans.
However, I do find this useful and I hope you do, too.
You may need to use different questions or a different system for choosing but taking the time to think about how your tasks match your priorities (or your values or your expectations) can help you to feel more in charge of your list overall.
I wish you ease today and always.
Please be kind to yourself about this and about anything else you have going on today. 💚⭐
About Making Space 2022
About Making Space 2022
In December 2020, Fit is a Feminist Issue blogger Martha created a tradition – a series of reminder posts to take good care of ourselves during this last month of the year when it is far too easy to get swept up in your to do list, no matter what you are celebrating or not celebrating. Last year, it was my turn and after an introductory Go Team post called Give Yourself Some Space, I created a series of reminders called ‘Making Space‘ that offered a suggested short exercise video and a suggested meditation in case you needed an easy way to find space for yourself in your schedule.
For 2022, I’ll be doing the same thing but I’ll also be including a link to Martha’s post from the same date in 2020 and I’ll offer a few extra ideas for relaxation, creativity, and self-kindness here and there.
These posts are not about insisting that you do more, more, more during this busy season. Instead, I want to encourage you to remember that there IS a *YOU* who is doing all of the things and you are worth taking good care of.
Perhaps the things I suggest aren’t what you need in the moment. That’s totally ok. Perhaps you can use something else to create some space, something that will help you feel more relaxed or more in charge of your day.