If you’re anything like me, you might start a day full of energy, especially a day that’s been left mostly to your own devices. If you work a standard job, this might be a weekend day, or a day that you simply have free of meetings, and the ability to structure work accordingly. Or, you may be a freelancer, structuring everything about that day. You may, for instance, say to yourself as you’re lying in bed at the start of said day, “Gee, there are all of these things I am just going to KNOCK out today- I’m going to feel so accomplished, it’s going to be great!”.
Unfortunately, I find this often happens: you sit down at the computer, and slowly but surely, the little things start taking hold of your time. You spend a bit of time sending an email, which leads to another email, which leads to “this little to do item that will only take five minutes” which actually takes fifteen…throw in a “there’s nothing wrong with stopping what I’m doing to cook a healthy lunch”, a “unexpected phone call (work or personal)”, and suddenly, that entire chunk of morning is gone.
If you’ve never read the “Rocks, Pebbles, and Sand” story, I invite you all to do so here: http://responsivereaction.blogspot.com/2007/05/rock-pebbles-and-sand-important-things.html
I’m referencing this idea, because I think it’s super applicable to all of the subcategories of life, and not just the big picture that is one’s life in general. Sure, the core of the story holds true- you should always make time for the things in life that really matter without sweating the small stuff. But even within the small, or medium stuff, there are tons and tons of subcategories. Take “career”.
Yes, sending the e-mail you need to send, updating some contact information, making a healthy lunch, and taking a business call are all great. They’re net positive tasks, and I’m not going to say otherwise. However, it’s so so so important to prioritize the ROCKS. If you really need to do some research to restructure an aspect of your business, or apply for a fellowship, or prepare several sides for an important audition, or actually work on choreography for a show in a 2-3 hour chunk, the e-mail simply has to wait. Make sure to leave room for those big action items- you’ll always be able to find time for the little ones somewhere!