Life is not an emergency

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For me, ordinary duties become emergencies when I (1) feel I have to get everything done that I write in my calendar, (2) fear that if I put even small things off they’ll just build up so that I’ll never get to them, and (3) don’t schedule enough time between appointments. I consequently tend to stuff too much into one day. I tend to create artificial deadlines. I fear that if I don’t get everything done today, it’ll pile up and then I’ll be “under the gun.” So, I make the mistake of creating an emergency due to my fear of putting myself under the gun later. This occurs because I am overly conscious of the negative consequences of procrastination. Ironically, I have many clients who always procrastinate because they feel like there are so many things that must get done that they become afraid to start doing any of them. They feel so many overwhelming emergencies, they just don't know where to start. So they become paralyzed and procrastinate.

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Solution to problem 1: Feeling I have to get everything done that I have listed on my calendar just plain isn’t true. When I have this attitude, I am falling victim to the impossible desire for my life to be complete with nothing left to do. The truth is that my life is a constantly evolving journey that is certainly never wound up in a neat little ball and complete. So, I just have to try to better prioritize and do less. If I can’t get something done, I go to the next day in the calendar and mark it “Do what’s left from yesterday.” Solution to problem 2: Regarding my fear that if I don’t do it now, it will never get done is also a bunch of hooey! If it doesn’t get done today, tomorrow or the next day, then it’s because I either had something more remunerative to be done or I’m dead in which case it won’t matter. I must also note that I used the word “FEAR” in stating my problem. Anytime I use that word, I’ve got to wonder if this is a “boogie man” I’m creating or whether I really have anything to fear. In recovery, the acronym for fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is illusory. I must therefore ask myself, “What am I afraid of?” Again, prioritizing is the key to dealing with my fear of not getting everything done. Solution to problem 3: To schedule more time between meetings, I need to take into account human functions like driving time, running into somebody who may need a kind word, or even helping someone who may have a real emergency. I’ve got to remember that red lights happen too. They weren’t just put there to make me angry and impede my way. Everybody has to stop for them. The bigger picture, of course, is we all have a right to move along with our lives and sometimes that means it is my turn to wait. Scheduling “in between time” gives me more time to make others feel better. I’ve found that if I take a few minutes to “stop and smell” the roses, my mind relaxes. By living in the above simple solutions, I have eased a lot of the emergencies out of my life, and I have continued to be more productive too. I’m easier on myself, and I achieve my goal more often because I’m easier on others. Once you have analyzed the ways you mismanage time and jotted down a few simple solutions, you will be amazed at how you will have more time and how stress, fear, and anxiety will melt away.

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