Get rid of your priorities

Dear 25 year old me,

I recently saw a quote that sparked a little a-ha moment and thought it was definitely something that could help you in your journey.

I’m paraphrasing here, but it pretty much goes along the lines of “until the 1940s, there was no such thing as ‘priorities’, only the priority”.

Up until this point you never considered thinking of it this way at all. Your whole academic to professional life has revolved around multi-tasking. In fact, you’ve been honing in on this skill for the past decade. Actually, you’re currently writing this blog post on a flight on the way to Sydney for a conference (Web Directions, here we come!), with Jurassic Park 2 playing in the foreground/background. Yep, you’re catching up on movies, you’re travelling to the other side of Australia and you’re writing up overdue blog posts – multi-tasking QUEEN.

Is this actually something worth being proud of though?

You multi-task so that you can be more effective with your time and ‘do more’. Multi-tasking aside, once you’ve finished these tasks, there’s still a long, long list waiting for you – ordered by priority – to tackle straight after.

When does the cycle ever end?
Have you taken on too much?
When did life become more than simply living?
Are you ‘doing life’ wrong?

Thanks (or no thanks?) to technology and possibly the career path you’ve chosen, you live in a world where you’re constantly connected, with endless access to information, and exciting options and opportunities are in abundance. With the pace that you’re travelling at, it’s much harder now to just focus on the one thing because, like a menu with all of your favourite foods, you want to order all the dishes that life has on offer.

So how, then, can someone focus on just the one priority? Actually, while we’re asking the questions, are there different silos to different types of priorities like the different parts of life such as work, home, self and giving? There you go using it as a plural again… it’s very difficult to fathom how you could apply this notion of ‘one priority’ to real life.

There’s so much more expectation, from others and yourself, to do more, be more, be better.

You’re a wife.
You’re a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a sister, a cousin.
You’re a mother to your furbaby.
You’re a friend.
You’re a business co-owner.
You’re a teammate and a team leader.
You’re a co-organiser for a brand new conference.
You’re part of a national committee for your industry.
You’re an organiser for your netball teams.
You’re part of four other side projects.

How can you pick one priority out of these? Or have you, just by jotting these down, already sub-consciously listed them in order? Life is short, right? Is it too short to be spread this thin all the time?

As always, kiddo, you don’t have ‘the answer’, but this is a huge moment that you’re realising how little time there is left in life. It’s so very precious.

Muhammad Ali spoke some home-hitting truths when he was asked what he was going to do after his boxing career was over. It’s certainly got you thinking. (Positively) assuming that you live to around 80/90 years old, you have about 47-57 years left to live. Not quite the halfway point yet, hopefully!

Factor in just the time spent working and sleeping (it’d be fair to say, 8 hours work per day and 8 hours sleep), you’d have about 8 hours left in a day. That equates to 33% available time in a 24 hour day, give or take. Say we updated your estimated years left to reflect the time you have left for actual living, that really only leaves 15.5 – 18.8 years, not including nothing time in there.

Surely that’s not right, because that would be depressing.

Let’s come back to those calculations later because admittedly, you’re shocking at math.

Segway – is it math, or maths? Stupid language things.

Segway continued; let’s also go back to the point of being spread too thin. Perhaps we can liken it to a jar of honey. Lovely, sweet honey! One jar can only spread nicely across only so many pieces of toast before it’s not worth it. Like most tasty spreads, you want to get a good amount on a piece otherwise you won’t get the full flavour. I think most will agree that it’d be better to have less pieces of toast with a tasty amount of honey on them, rather than trying to make it spread across more than a jar can manage.

Perhaps we won’t go into the cost of refilling or buying a new jar of honey once the one you had runs out…

Wow, this post went places that I didn’t expect it to…

Still in positive spirits! I can tell you this; you’re even more determined now to make the most of every precious moment you have; not a second to waste, but you also realise that there’s no point eating a piece of toast with a tiny scrape of honey either. Time to experience life – properly – with all the flavour it has to offer.

Epic post (brain = explode).

Until next time, kiddo.

Patima x