I’m currently a somewhat lapsed devotee of David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system for personal productivity and organization, FlyLady‘s household management system, David K. Reynold‘s Constructive Living therapy, Dr. Willard Harley’s Marriage Builders program, and Sacred Space/Pray-As-You-Go‘s daily prayer practice.
What do all these things have in common? They each touch on big, massive, shudder-when-you-think-about-it Major Life Goals.
- Getting your schedule under control and making sure you get what’s most important to you accomplished.
- Creating an uncluttered, nurturing, non-chaotic home environment for your family.
- Managing your neurotic emotions and living consciously and gratefully in the present.
- Protecting and enriching your lifelong romantic partnership.
- Developing a rich, reflective inner spiritual life centered in the presence of God.
Whoa. Big stuff, there, right? It makes my head hurt just thinking about any one of them, much less all of them. But the thing is, I want all of them.
Except each of these different systems, different programs or frameworks, focus on the small stuff. They don’t focus on the elephant you’ve got to devour. They focus on the next bite. What’s my Next Action? How much clutter can I clear in a 15 minute burst of activity? What needs doing, despite what I’m feeling? What is the most effective thing I can do each day to demonstrate love to my spouse? What’s happened in the last 24 hours, and where do I feel God’s presence or absence?
These are manageable things. I can think about each of these questions without feeling a headache or a vague sense of panic and overwhelm. I can attack any (and maybe all) of those questions in the course of a single day, with all the energy and enthusiasm I have available for that day.
Ultimately, it comes down to practices. A “practice” is something we do because we’re not perfect–but we’d like to be better. Usually, it’s something we have to do daily, or at most weekly, because if we don’t, we get “out of practice.” We lose what we’ve learned, to an extent. But the nice thing is, most practices are like riding a bike–we may get rusty, but if we mastered it once, we can generally pick it up again.
With a little more practice.
img courtesy torli