What’s the top priority when everything is important? And urgent?
I value attention management. I find it a more useful discipline than time management because, for whatever reason, when I ask myself, “Where’s my attention?” I get more productive answers than when I ask, “How am I spending my time?” To invent an example, I might be spending my time playing solitaire on my phone, but my attention is on feeling emotionally out-of-breath. A few hands of solitaire later, and I’m ready to go…though I don’t consider solitaire a worthy use of my time.
Attention reminds me of the long arc beyond the moment. What I attend to gets done.
My Sweetie is home for all the days this week. He is pulling my attention… because I’m not used to having him around? Because we haven’t sat down to puzzle out how to share our co-working space? However it is, this is my Saturday problem writ medium: I value my time with him; I value my relationship with him; I value certain activities that I do alone, for blocks of time without interruption. I value my own balance, which is not likely to survive a 24x7x365 focus on him.
In the absence of shared ground rules, thus far today I’ve focused on him more than I have written. We could, as these words are typed, be at the raw-time tipping point, but…
Don’t I want to write in the morning when my creative energy is freshest? Don’t I therefore want to firmly tell everyone to table whatever it is they have in mind for/with me, and leave me alone?
I do. But I worry that being that crisp without preamble is unneedfully harsh. I value my picture of myself as relationally skilled as well.
And the usual decision-making razors aren’t helping, as I mentioned before. Without a profit or pay motive to lend weight, it’s hard to decide which is most urgent. Because that’s the next element, right? Attention should turn to the first things first, to the most-urgent of the important things. But when they’re equally urgent-?
Perhaps I should start with a fiat: time with the Holy Three-In-One will be taken first. I did this today in a kinda-way…since I have a brain that tends to side conversations, I’m frequently in prayer with Them. But I’m not buying what I tried to sell myself about today’s time, so then: devotional next to coffee. Because I know the coffee will happen. (Habit-chaining is a Thing. Check it out.)
Then comes negotiation. I don’t feel okay working the rest out by fiat; after all, I have studied Donne, and I am clear on my not being an island. Sigh. This will be a meta-conversation, which are not My Sweetie’s preferred kind. Perhaps I’ll put it off for a week.
And let it fragment my attention some more.