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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Eliminate One Thing

Handling the To Do List
In an earlier article I suggested that our thoughts this month turn to a closer look at our scheduling, priorities, and focus. I discussed grounding ourselves by focusing on something smaller, such as a solid review of the Twinkle Variations. This week I suggest we approach the problem by looking at our scheduling.

I fondly remember a parent workshop given by Jeanne Luedke in 2001. During the question and answer period, one of the parents asked how to fit practices into a busy schedule. Jeanne announced that she had the answer, and she asked the parents to pull out a piece of paper.

There was the sound of rustling paper as parents turned to fresh pages in their notebooks or tore out pages. Pens poised, parents sat expectantly, almost eagerly, to wait for Jeanne's help.

"Write down a list of all the activities that you have to do in a day."

Pens scurried across the pages, and I could feel the parents' anticipated and hopeful expectation that Jeanne would give them answers of how to find time to practice daily -- something that parents, I know, struggle with universally.

"Do you have your list ready?" Jeanne asked. Nods from the parents. "Then, here's what you do."

"Take your list, and tear it in half," Jeanne said.

Dead silence. "No, really. That's all there is to it. It works!" At that point, I heard at least one pen smack against a notebook page. Not the answer that most of the parents expected, I thought.

Jeanne's point is a good one though. We probably do way too many things. I certainly feel that way when I hear parents recite a litany of reasons why they were unable to find time to practice during the week. I think to myself that the list of things that parents have obligated the child and the parents to do each week is sometimes staggering! I want to follow through on Jeanne's advice and tear the list of activities in half.

I feel that way myself about my own list of things to do. When I write my list of things to do for the week, and also my daily list, I run dangerously close to running out of room on my to do list. I recall Jeanne's advice about tearing the list in half, and I understand once again the frustration of the parents at the workshop that day in 2001.

If your to do list looks like something that the Apple folks would put together for a new product launch, and yet you know that there is very little more that you can do to minimize the list, I suggest that you focus on finding only one thing to limit or eliminate. Start with one and see what you can do this week about eliminating or reducing it. 

I know, one thing is not going to be enough. It will be a good place to start. One thing may lead to two things. The good feelings that come from NOT having to do one or two things may be all the uplifting capital that you need this week. It will certainly be better than having to do the work of the week with those one or two things added to the mix.

So try eliminating one thing. Break an activity into much smaller components to take much of the "sting" or pressure out of doing the entire activity at one time.

If you want to look at the earlier article about how to ground ourselves by shrinking our focus and priorities, click here.

Until next time,

Happy Practicing!

----- Paula -----

© 2016 by Paula E. Bird

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