Tag Archives: priorities

Prioritize Your Life: Hack Off a Limb

There’s a tree in my back yard.

Yes, I know. Riveting, right? Gimme a break. We’re going somewhere here.

See this tree is kinda funky looking. It has a bunch of branches at the bottom but the top is just this barren length of wood with a couple of leaves at the tip.  And why does this tree look like this?

Because it’s badly in need of pruning. See there’s only so much sap one tree can produce and all the little branches at the bottom sucked up all the sap that should have gone to the leaves at the top, so eventually the leaves at the top just withered and died.

I was looking at this tree the other day and it occurred to me that my life is a lot the same as that tree. Only instead of sap, I’m running short of time.

I find myself scrambling to fit it all in, and at the end of the day there’s just not enough room for everything I’d like to do. I have to prune some stuff. I have to make sure there’s enough sap left for the important stuff.

Because there some stuff that’s vital, utterly important. These are things that I absolutely refuse to let fall by the wayside. And before you get too far ahead of me, let me stop you and say this: writing is not on that list.

I’m not saying writing isn’t important, but it’s not essential. My family life? Now that’s essential. Keeping a steady job so I don’t starve to death? That’s essential too.

Writing is somewhere in the middle. On most days there’s plenty of fluff I can cut out of other areas of my life to make room for my writing time. But some rare days get filled up with the essential stuff and crowd out the writing to a bare minimum.

And that’s okay.

It doesn’t make you a horrible person or a terrible writer.

So sure, look for those lower branches that need to be cut off. Chances are there are more of them than you think. But don’t let writing leach the sap of time away from the things that are more important.

Never let the good things of life, take away from the best things in life.

This is the only time you get, so do your best to make the most of it. Because it’s running out.

The Digital Dependency

Yesterday I read a great post by Jody Hedlund talking about how social media can suck up way too much of your time. It was weird that she posted it when she did, because that was exactly the time I needed a wake up call.

I’ve got some problems.  See, I like twitter. Like a lot. I’ve got it running on my computer pretty much non-stop, and if I’m away from the big screen it’s always there on my cellphone. I’ve caught myself checking tweets at work, while shopping, even in traffic. And the worst part of it all is that I’m letting it start to encroach on my marriage. My wife and I will be eating dinner together, and while she’s telling me about her day I’m on the phone checking the latest update from wherever.

I’m becoming a caricature. My life is like a live action Windows phone commercial. If I sound like I’ve been a great big jerk, it’s only because it’s true. And it has to stop.

The solution isn’t to get a better phone. The solution is to act like an adult and exercise some self control.

So here goes. It’s not New Year’s but I’m making some resolutions anyway, because I need them. I need to remember what is important in my life.

1. I will leave my phone beyond my reach when me and my wife are spending time together. If we are out and about, and I have my phone in my pocket I will kill all my wonderful little apps and leave them killed until our time together is over.

2. I will do my best to listen to my wife and support her when she is having emotional issues. I will not let myself be distracted by trivialities. If she is talking I will turn the radio off and listen only to her.

3. I will never let her feel less important than anything else in my life.

I need to get some things straight. I still want to connect and grow my network as a writer, but I have to remember that nothing is more important than my marriage.

How about the rest of you? Does twitter take up more time than you’d like to admit? Do you find it overtaking things that should be more important? Or maybe you’d like to tell my what a great big jerk I am. Leave a comment and let me know.