Long List — Short Time

The list was long, and the time short. I gulped past a wedge of anxiety.

Taking a sabbatical sounds peaceful, relaxing, and gives the impression of lounging — but not in this case.  When you work too many hours for months on end, and try to squeeze the rest of your life into a few weeks, a sabbatical becomes a working holiday. And that’s exactly where I am right now, taking time off to catch up with myself.

I admit, the first two days, I rested more than normal. I even watched a few movies. This rare treat helped reset my overburdened mind. But by doing so, I took a risk. Temptation to develop bad habits.

Because I push hard for long periods, little thoughts niggled at the edges of my conscience.

Two days aren’t enough. Take two weeks off, and then you can dig into some writing.

You’ve earned a break, don’t be so hard on yourself.

If you don’t slow down, you’ll burn out.

There was validity to some of my thoughts, but I knew I didn’t have the luxury of wasting precious time. I only have a month after all.

So I buckled down, and did what works. At least for me.

I reviewed my list, added a few more items, and prioritized them into two categories:

1) Tasks that take the shortest amount of time. 

2) Hardest jobs to tackle.

Knowing I can motivate myself by getting just a few things done, I focused first on completing three of my small projects. Slash — slash — slash. Three marked off in half a day.

I already felt a little better. But a small sword swinging over my head kept me from celebrating. Taxes.

The greatest enemy to my peace sat in a file drawer, filled to capacity with notes, receipts, invoices, and bank statements. Throughout the year I store everything related to taxes in one place, and it helps. But I still procrastinate the entries into my bookkeeping program. And now, I had to face the giant.

It took almost two days to separate, organize, research, and enter all the data. But finally, I finished. And then I danced. Alone in my living room.

The same day, with super-infused energy, I did two more things.

Now, only four days later, other than specific writing projects, focus on exercise and nutrition, and some daily maintenance habits, the list is short. By working on one thing at a time, completing small tasks to build momentum, then resolving to hit my greatest anxiety head-on, my mind and office are clear of clutter.

I don’t know why I consider putting things off. I prefer this sense of accomplishment over sitting on the couch and feeling like a slug. Guilt doesn’t build me up, it tears me down.

Once again, I proved I can cut a long list in a short time. If I don’t let temptation get the best of me.

Anita FreshFaith @ Work

Proverbs 6:6 (NIV)

 Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!

Anita Agers-Brooks is a Business Coach, Certified Personality Trainer, Communications Specialist, speaker, and writer. She lives in Missouri with her family.

Contact her via www.freshstartfreshfaith.org or anita.freshfaith@gmail.com

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