Yes, this is true. We all have 24 hours in a day. I really struggled with this chapter. Because while I know I only have a certain number of hours a day, the same as everyone else, it doesn’t feel like. Because time and uninterrupted time are different things. Because doing 15 different tasks a day and finishing none of them doesn’t have the same satisfaction as one or two completed items. She doesn’t even begin to address urgency vs. importance in this chapter.
Jamie says that what gets done shows us our true priorities. If I look at my life that way, it makes me sad. Because playing with my children is rarely high on the list. I don’t mind reading (at least until I’m forced to read the same Thomas the Tank engine book too many times). But it’s hard for me to feel drawn into screaming play. It’s so loud and my head wants to explode. I remember in the summer making a real point to enjoy my kids at the park. It was great. But it’s winter now. Our little house feels like it gets smaller by the day. What gets done is meals, some laundry and occasionally dishes. Do these things really matter to me? NO! We could eat twice a week and pay someone else to do the laundry. But we can’t afford to. So instead these things that don’t really matter but must be done take over. The urgent outweighs the important.
There is also a significant different in the usefulness of my hours. I may have 24 hours a day, but I also require sleep. (How I wish I didn’t). Sometimes I require more sleep than usual. So I must sacrifice those hours or opt to sleep less and have fewer useful hours. You know what I mean. When you stay up that last extra hour but you are so tired you can’t focus and end up puttering on the internet or a ten minute task takes and hour because of fatigue. This is the law of diminishing returns. Sometimes it’s better to let it go. This is especially hard when I feel like I’m sacrificing me time. The time after my kids are in bed is the small amount of time I have for myself. Sometimes I blog or do other work. I prefer to relax and knit or crochet. Sometimes I do house work. But if I stay up too late, no matter how fun the activity, I usually pay for it in bad mood or inefficiency the next day.
This is one of those chapters where I don’t have any answers. Jamie says we should live more in the present moment instead of being constantly distracted, which I agree with. This will help us engage more fully in the one thing we are doing. But those of us with multiple kids who homeschool, work from home, etc. Sometimes doing one thing isn’t our choice. I sit down to do school with my daughter and my son wets his pants. Or I finally get a quiet moment to put down a few thoughts toward a blog posts and my kids begin fighting. The phone rings. And important work or ministry email needs an immediate response. It can be so difficult to maintain presence and focus on one thing. I guess what I need to work on is to be better about returning to the moment after the distraction has subsided.
For me, more interruption leads to less productivity. Hence why as a mom, I can work all day and still feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. (This is not specific to moms though. My husband says he feels like this at work some days too).
So no, I don’t have the magic solution to how to get it all done or even tips on how to make it better. Just make room to laugh and love no matter what you are doing. In the end, that’s probably all any of us can hope for.