Wednesday, January 2, 2013

What Happens Tomorrow


By now, if you’ve spent any time catching up on your post-holidays blog reading, you’ve noticed the “New Year’s Resolution” topic has trended so much, it’s bordering on overdone. At least, that’s the rub, in my opinion.

I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. Unless, of course, the resolution reads something like this:
Resolved: To Never Make Another New Year’s Resolution.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time trying to accommodate the other side’s point of view. Goals are good, right? In my ambivalence, I’ve even written my own lackluster set of New Year’s resolutions goals hopes. I do, after all, have some things I want to accomplish in my life. If you didn’t read it last year, please do stop by and take a look by clicking here.  I’ll revisit that list—and its concurrent list of regrets—tomorrow.

But just as I mentioned on the eve of making those resolutions last year, I can’t help but stop and recall some sage advice from an ancient book:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”  Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.
Believe me, I certainly had no idea, at the middle of last month, what “Tomorrow” had in store for me—for my family—with the arrival of one brief phone call. How can I make a year’s goals for family history research when I can’t even comprehend what a family emergency can do to my notions about one simple twenty-four hour period?

On the other hand, I don’t mean to discourage the organized approach to setting reasonable—and laudable—goals. I received one article today which is noteworthy in that regard, and I’d like to pass it along.

The article, by Jeremy Miller of Toronto’s Sticky Branding consultancy, speaks to that very issue of New Year’s Resolutions. As he puts it, resolutions are a marathon, not a sprint.

Taking his cue from the running world, Jeremy Miller advises, “Start slow, finish fast.” He provides a running strategy to get you from the starting line to the finish line in your upcoming year, with the operative word being, finish.

Finish: I like that. There is nothing more frustrating—and downright demoralizing—than starting out, saying, “I’m going to…” and then never getting it done.

If you are thinking like me on this aspect of resolutions, I’d encourage you to head to Sticky Branding’s blog and read the post for yourself. Whether you apply his concepts to business applications, as Jeremy Miller does, or to your own projects in genealogical research—or any other endeavor—these are wise words to tape to your bathroom mirror and digitally inscribe on the top of each calendar page.

This balancing act called Time Management is truly a challenge. In any given year, we all get the same amount of stuff that Time is made of, and it’s up to us to be resourceful in how we use it. Yet, none of us knows what is in store for us in that next Tomorrow. No matter how well we prepare and plan, all we can answer for is what we’ve accomplished Today. Yet, while we do not know what will happen tomorrow, we certainly must do what we can to convert that future unknown into present.accomplishments. The balancing act is to grab each Tomorrow and do our best to make the wishes and dreams of its To-Do List the finished check list of another Today.

If you can do that for a whole year’s Resolutions, more power to you.

As for me…well, I’ll stick with conquering Today.


Above left: from the Golden Book of Saint Albans,1380, depicting Richard of Wallingford, Abbot of Saint Albans abbey in Hertfordshire, England, pointing to the clock he gave to the abbey; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.

12 comments:

  1. Yes, time management is a balancing act.

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    1. Grant, it never was my forte. Come to think of it, I'm not good at balancing anything! But I'm game for giving it a try...again.

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  2. Thanks Jacqi! Time management is definitely an issue in my life AND remembering to take time for myself. I'm a bit done with all the resolutions and annual recaps myself out in the blogisphere. :)

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    1. Good point about reserving some time for ourselves, too! After a hectic month of the unexpected during the holiday season, that advice sounds so timely!

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  3. I am with you on the no resolutions thing. Why bring on the guilt and recriminations of artificial failure?

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    1. I'm still trying to clarify, in my mind, the difference between true goal-setting (and accomplishment) and this New Year's resolution craze. It is the guilt! And the guilt is so non-productive. You've put your finger on the core of it, Iggy: it is artificial failure.

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  4. I am all for goals..and simple ones! I did some organizing today..and then lollygagged:)

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    1. Kudos to you, Far Side! I remember reading that one of your goals for this year is lollygagging!

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  5. Conquering today makes sense to me. I tend to be a "just in time" type of person.

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    1. "Just in time" delivery puts a more emergent, evolving sense to goal management...makes it seem like more of an organic process...natural. I like that. That could work for me!

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  6. Jacqi, I totally agree with you. "Life is what happens when you've made other plans." Always true. This year instead of resolutions I just tried a Focus exercise. What is most important to me? Pare it down, set a couple of priorities, limit. Make my peace with the 24-hour day and be ready to adapt to changing circumstances.

    And even my "Focus" I take with a grain of salt. We can only do what we can do. Why drive ourselves nuts trying to do it all?

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    1. It's probably because I do want to do it all, Mariann! :)

      I like what you've written about focus. "Make my peace with the 24-hour day" puts it nicely--and gently reminds us of our human frailty and limits.

      To take that idea one step further, what you say calls to mind some life-management books I've read that talk more about exploring one's core mission and placing that, as a guiding motivation, above the task-driven tap dance of time management.

      If only I could zero in on what my core mission in life is, perhaps I could better break loose of this tangle of "shoulda" resolutions and to-do lists.

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