I’d like to think that one of my strengths is my ability to focus on a particular task to the exclusion of all else. Unfortunately, one of my many weaknesses – you’ve guessed it – is my ability to focus on a particular task to the exclusion of all else.
Whether I’m writing an article, working on my studies or potting up plants in the garden, I can get so wrapped up in what I’m doing that hours can pass without me noticing. Which is fine, except that I rarely, if ever, have just one thing on my ‘to do’ list. So while I’m getting absorbed in one thing, there’s a whole load of other stuff that’s just not getting done.
Take this afternoon, for example. I was working on an assignment for my studies, and got so involved in it that it was six o’clock before I realised that I hadn’t watered the plants, prepared dinner or walked the dog. All relatively minor things, but things that I needed to do, nevertheless. And more importantly, things that I’d promised my wife Natalie that I would do.
We all have many roles to play in our lives. I’m a husband, son, brother, colleague, friend and pack leader (to a small orange Labrador). I’m a writer, employee, student, home owner and gardener. I’m also a hiker, runner, sailor, swimmer and lounge lizard. All of these roles need constant attention if I’m to do them well.
Life is a juggling act. While I don’t need to focus on each of my roles all of the time, I do need to make sure that I don’t neglect any of them. I need to strike the right balance between the things that I need to do and the number of hours in the day. And that’s going to take some effort (and a lot more lists).