I’ll be the first to admit it: I have a habit of biting off more than I can chew.
I do it because I have a lot of goals, and I know how short and precious our lives are.
However, I also realize that when I put too much on my plate and set out to accomplish too much at once, I end up feeling frustrated, irritated, tired and generally unhappy.
I’m glad that I push myself as hard as I do, otherwise I would never know where the line between “managed and organized” and “complete chaos” lies.
Sometimes it’s easy to scale back to the “managed and organized” side of life; other times it’s not.
For example, I wanted to go back to school for an MBA. I like school. I did well as an undergraduate. I wanted to challenge myself and exercise my brain. So, I jumped through all the hoops and started.
Let me just say, uh yeah, I’m definitely challenging myself.
This first semester of my MBA program is “challenging” the crap out of me. I’ve never studied for a test only to receive a D+. It was quite a wake-up call.
It showed me I needed to put in more time and study harder. Scaling back my efforts is not an option. Meanwhile, I also have obligations to my family, friends, my job and Tenacious Lee.
Bam! Hello, “complete chaos.”
When I find myself back on this side of the fence, I first carve out an afternoon or evening to just be. I rest. I relax. I read. I recover. Chris Guillebeau recently wrote a fabulous post about the importance of rest and recovery.
Next, I check and make sure I’m following my 12 tenacious health habits.
Then, I remind myself of my priorities. Do my priorities show up in my daily to-do lists? Do my actions mirror my intentions?
Next, I look at where and how I’m spending my time. Where can I find more time to study? How much television am I watching? How much time am I spending cooking? Are there healthier, faster meals I could make?
Then, I set limits and follow my new schedule. I won’t make any meals that take more than half an hour. No television unless studying is complete, etc. When it’s time for fun, have fun — don’t keep work or school on the brain.
“The first ingredient of success – making good decisions – has no real value without the second, which is practicing good discipline … Decisions help us start. Discipline helps us finish.
Most people want to avoid pain, and discipline is often painful. But we need to recognize that there are really two kinds of pain when it comes to our daily conduct. There’s the pain of self-discipline and the pain of regret. Many people avoid the pain of self-discipline because it’s the easy thing to do. What they may not realize is that the pain of self-discipline is momentary but the payoff is long-lasting.”
The article also includes a daily self-discipline checklist:
Just for Today I Will…
- Choose and display the right attitudes.
- Determine and act on important priorities.
- Know and follow healthy guidelines.
- Communicate with and care for my family.
- Practice and develop good thinking.
- Make and keep proper commitments.
- Earn and properly manage finances.
- Deepen and live out my faith.
- Initiate and invest in solid relationships.
- Plan for and model generosity.
- Embrace and practice good values.
- Seek and experience improvements.
- Act on these decision and practice these disciplines, and then one day…
I will see the compounding results of a day lived well.