The Headless Chicken With the List

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I have a combination of traits that conspire to make me crazy:

  • I hate being bored.
  • I hate missing out on anything.
  • I want to help.
  • I like to be involved.
  • I love playing music.
  • I like playing different kinds of music.
The result of this is, occasionally, my calendar looks like I need to skip sleeping altogether.
This is one of those months! Lots of gigs and rehearsals. Things are heating up with regards to the upcoming CBA summer. The John Muir Association (I’m co-president, membership director and newsletter editor) has its biggest events coming up. My wife’s business has its biggest fundraiser coming up (I’m in charge of booking and scheduling entertainment).
I provide marketing services for several local business, and they pay me so I better put their needs way up on my list, right?
Did I mention I have a full time day job?
There are days when the noise, the incessant clamor, is absolutely deafening and terrifying.
What I do to get back in control of all these intertwined obligations is, I make a list. The very act is calming. Exactly, what am I responsible for, and who do I need to respond to? When, exactly, does each task need to be completed?
Which tasks are simple, and which are complex? For the complex tasks, what the are steps, the milestones, to lead me to the desired (on-time) result?
When this list is complete, I can take a deep breath, and begin to plan what things I can do when. Some stuff is easy and should be handled sooner rather than later to clear my list. Slowly, order begins to replace chaos. I can do all these things, and still attend rehearsals and gigs. I have a daily list and a weekly list – the entrance to the list is always open, so it’s never static.
Some tasks are cyclical in nature and doing them regularly lends itself to a kind of rhythm – this welcome message is a good example. It doesn’t loom over me, it beckons me, and I start trying to visualize columns every weekend (I send myself an email if a good idea hits me!)
Here’s the truly blessed thing – If I’m hewing to my list, I never have to stay awake at night worrying. I can do stuff until till I’m tired, and pick up again the next day. But it’s a vicious cycle – as I calm myself getting things done, and allow myself a little breather, I’ll get the phone call or email from someone saying “Hey! Where’s that thing you’re supposed to do?” And the frenzy starts anew. If I didn’t relax by playing music, I would surely be locked away by now.

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