by Katie Choi
In a few weeks, I’m moving. There is a lot of stuff we can unpack (moving puns, classic) with all that, but one thing that moving has revealed to me right now is the way I prioritize the tasks in my life. In the most general sense, I like being organized, and I like acts of organization. It is part of what makes me, me. Sometimes, it allows me to love and serve others who don’t share in this gift or find the same joy in order as I do. Lately, I have helped my family to prioritize moving tasks in a way where we have made good progress and aren’t saving things for the last minute. That doesn’t mean things aren’t stressful or there aren’t things that pop up where have to reassess, but I do find that there is power in a schedule. Our moving date is quickly approaching and the necessity to keep a schedule has been made more apparent. As my family has a hard deadline coming up, I’d love to share some things that have helped me, with the hope that they might speak to you. Even if you can’t relate to my example of moving, this could be applied to school starting up again or a big project at work that feels daunting or even just the hustle and bustle of a normal work week where you need to get things done.
- Have a system.
I carry a paper planner with me in my purse. I love that thing more than I should, but I also love being able to write things down, make lists, cross things off – all with a good old fashioned pen. My planner has different areas for different days, and I like to put specific tasks in those areas. I also like to set goals for the weeks of things I want to be sure to accomplish. Or pivot those to other times if things change. It all just clicks for me. I have another friend who makes the most glorious lists in her ‘Notes’ app on her phone. To her, being able to keep it all on her phone is key. My husband Ben likes to set alarms and reminders for himself so he doesn’t forget things. That works for him. So what works for you? Do you have a system? I don’t think there is a wrong method here because we are all different and can use this system to highlight our strengths and how we are best able to process information that we are responsible for. What I do think has potential to work against you is to assume you will remember everything you need to and that it will all work out. Maybe sometimes it does, but on the times it doesn’t, it is likely to cause stress to yourself and to others. Help minimize this by finding something that fits your needs and compliments your lifestyle.
Whether it is with your work team, spouse or partner, parent, child, caregiver, yourself, the importance of communication is key. And even further than that, communicating expectations is even key-er. Take my example of moving. Sometimes, I am asking my husband for help with putting things into boxes. And sometimes, we have different ideas of how that should actually play out. So if it is important to you, be sure to be specific as to what you are asking and what you are hoping the end product will be. Another aspect of this is to not assume people know what you are thinking. They don’t, just like you don’t know what they are thinking. Communicate tasks, delegate responsibilities, set clear expectations for what needs to get done and when it needs to get done by. I think it is loving to work in a way where you don’t set yourself or others up for disappointment when expectations aren’t met. I think it’s also important to remember to extend trust as well as offer grace should something play out differently than original intentions. Don’t you want trust extended to you when you are given a responsibility? And don’t you want grace given to you if you make a mistake? Yes. Let’s be sure to give that gift to others, too.
The world we live in today makes listening hard. It shouldn’t, but we’ve let it. Our phone dings or email notifications pop up, making us always aware of the fast pace going on around us. I just finished a book titled, You’re Not Listening, and I found it to be really insightful. It brought attention to this problem of not listening as well as gave words to things I have noticed but wasn’t able to put my finger on what I was noticing. I could write and write about how I think everyone should read this book, but in this post, I will touch on two main things here. The first is to make sure that you don’t get so bogged down by your to do list that you fail to listen and notice those around you. Accomplishing something on your to do list means nothing if you bulldoze those around you along the way. This is hard for me, and I don’t live this out well a lot of the time. Listen and pay attention to those around you. The second thing I want to touch on is to listen to yourself. Build in breaks so that you don’t burn out. Set little rewards for yourself to keep you motivated. Listen to your body so you don’t physically overdo it, and be aware of your emotions so you don’t snap on everyone around you because you are overwhelmed. Make sure that as you are prioritizing the tasks in your life, you also prioritize the people. Yourself included.
This sounds simple on paper, easy even. But, we know it’s tough. If one thing gives in one direction, something gets taken away in the other direction. You won’t do any of this perfectly, try as you might. No paper planner or well thought out plan or any amount of Starbucks latte drinks will prevent unforeseen circumstances from popping up or take away all your stress or cure Covid (yeah, it’s still hanging around). But they can certainly help. And they can make you more aware of yourself and hopefully in turn, others. So that’s something. Know, I am with you in all this. I am forgetful. I don’t communicate well, I assume. I don’t always love those around me well, but even less so when I feel super stressed. I’m with you.
I wrote a different post the beginning of May, and I closed it out with this bible verse. I’d like to include that again as a reminder to myself and to you. I am praying with you and for you and wishing you peace.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9