Think about what you wanted to accomplish last week. Did you? What are the things that hold you back from doing everything you’d like to do?
For me this is a two-part question, as many questions are.
Part I: First, most days I get up filled with ideas about what I might do “today”. As I have coffee, wake up, eat breakfast and read my email, I try to form a schedule for the day. Despite my earlier enthusiasm, my list grows shorter. I make excuses for myself, or decide that I can put that item off ’til another day. I out-think myself with alternatives, better ideas, too-short days, whatever, until I come to the conclusion (as I have trained myself to do) that I must set just one goal for the day, something I absolutely will do. (My list doesn’t include normal daily routine tasks; I do those because I have to, without question, like cooking dinner.)
I should explain that I have ADD and anxiety disorder. Both of these make my mind like a ball of tangled yarn. My one goal is to find the end piece in the messed up knot and start there. If I have time to sort out other things, I do, and in truth, I usually accomplish a number of things each day besides “the main goal” and duties. Since I find it hard to prioritize without a great deal of mental acrobatics, I find it easier and better to keep it simple — one thing at a time. I am a classic case of a person who has ten things half-finished at any given time, so when I actually begin and end a task in the same day, that in itself is an achievement.
Part II: Last week was different and good (though getting out of my routine tends to cause me some mental discomfort). We are retired, but still have our fairly large house, with all the bedrooms needed to have raised four children. Through a friend I learned that five students from Arkansas were looking for a place to stay when they came Washington D.C. for the March for Life. I happily accepted the challenge, and my week, including the four days they were here, was basically consumed by their needs, in the nicest possible way. I prepared the rooms, got in extra food I thought they might like, and generally gave the house a good clean.
My husband and I ferried them to and from the airport, and metro stops, early and late. We had great evenings discussing different topics, and we enjoyed their outlooks and learned from them, and hope they took just a bit of our aged wisdom away, too. (Even if we are not wise, we are experienced in life.) It was a great week, and the hugs given and received when they left from Reagan Airport were heartfelt.
I roll well with the punches, and am very adaptable, but I have to take control of my rambling mind first, and “just do it” — “do the next right thing”. Over the years I have gotten better at focusing by a lot of mental (and sometimes verbal) self-talk. I have to keep refocusing to get things done (and I do), but there’s always that little rumble of discomfort about being a little out of control.