Know the difference between what is an Emergency, Urgent, Important, Necessary, and Desired.
Like many “modern” women, I am faced with the task of juggling competing obligations, and demands on a daily basis. Sometimes it feels as if I am a living pinball merely dodging one hazard or crisis after another. I try to be available to my children, responsible at my job, and connected with my husband. Throw in my friends to the mix and my plate is full. Of course this does not even consider responsibilities we all have to our church, our community and to the world at large. At the end of each day, I frequently feel the disquieting feeling of not having quite accomplished what I should have.
The other day I responded to a frantic phone call from my daughter who is at college out of town. Her car had died. Just died, no warning. Fortunately it happened on a weekend and she was able to pull into a parking lot where she could leave it overnight. Most important, she was with a friend, in the middle of the afternoon, so she was not in any danger. Still we had to deal with it, via long distance and quickly. I was in a meeting at work and so my brain was racing with sorting out a solution to the myriad problems created by the car breakdown. She had to get back to school, get the car towed, deal with the repair shop, and get a ride back to the dealership. On top of it all, I was concerned that the repair would be over-the-top expensive.
This situation could have been an emergency–thank goodness it was not. It was urgent, because we had to deal with part of the problem immediately—find a place to leave the car and get it towed. It was also important and necessary because we had to get the car fixed for her to use and it could not be put off. Naturally, we all desired that the car be working again.
During this time frame, I also wanted to make an appointment to have a manicure and pedicure. Clearly, these tasks were not an emergency, urgent, or even important, or necessary. This was only desired. Still, I found myself feeling stressed and upset because I kept staring at the calendar looking for a time for fit in the two hours necessary for the appointment and wasn’t finding any options. I really wanted to fit in the appointments but just wasn’t going to be able to. I was also annoyed because I was headed out of town on vacation and wanted my hands and toes to look good for my trip.
Finally, I had to let it go. I just had to realize that absolutely nothing long term would happen if I missed the appointments and went on vacation without them. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Really, at the end of the day, it is just better to stop and realize the difference and then try and control your reaction. Is the problem or situation an emergency, urgent, important, necessary, or is it only desired. Stop, look at the situation and figure out what you need to do.