I was getting dressed for work a few mornings ago and soliloquizing as I do in nearly every alone moment of mine (even when I’m walking on the street for chrissake) and I suddenly figured out how I’ve been able to direct my energies in what I feel has been the most productive way ever: This ‘algorithm’. I had wanted to call it the love-priority-income algorithm. I’m not sure, but lets call it that for now.
For the longest time, I felt like I’d been spending so much time trying to do everything, try everything, be great at everything and the truth is, while it is possible to have your fingers in as many jars as you’d like (so to speak), it isn’t really the most sustainable way to live, for me at least. I have such a wide range of interests and I’m so eager to say yes to things that I used to always find myself doing too much, stretched to the limit.
In August-early September last year, I made a lot of changes in my life and the first step was just grinding everything I was doing to a halt. Sometimes, sitting still helps you realize what is truly important. Once I figured that out, I didn’t want to ruin that wonderful balance. I was focusing on my spirituality and getting through my surgery rotation and working on photography here and there. It was honestly perfect. It took about three months before I was ready to re-introduce things slowly into my schedule.
Now, I wasn’t having a nervous breakdown or anything like that, but my life was truly out of focus, unbalanced and this happens from time to time with most people. I check in with myself often nowadays to make sure I’m not taking on a lot and I’m making time for all the things that really matter. We have to keep checking in with ourselves and here’s where my algorithm comes in. Right now, everything I’m doing with my life falls into three categories (sometimes one thing fits into two or three categories):
1. Important aka priority: These are the things that I have to do, whether or not I love them/live for them/enjoy them. This doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy activities in this category, it just means they’re non-negotiable. This is where school/work (it’s tough to call it school because I’m really only ever at the hospital), fulfilling my monthly preaching requirement, attending my christian meetings, working out a few times a week, alone time, sleeping enough hours a day, talking to family etc fit in. I honestly enjoy doing all of these things, but there are tired days when I don’t want to go to the hospital or weeks when I’d like to not work out or days when its hard to find enough time to sleep and on days like that, I have to remind myself that these are non-negotiable. Obviously, somedays things are beyond your control, but in the big picture, these things show up regularly.
2. Love: I LOVE doing these things. I make time for them even on hard days. Things like being out preaching, doing photography, meal prepping, sleeping, alone timeee, reading/personal bible study etc. I enjoy these things; they refresh me.
3. Income: I don’t necessarily have a “job”, but I get photography gigs occasionally and I do some freelancing online. I also believe that photo sessions are an investment because they help improve my creative eye and editing skills. I work on these things as much as I can. Studying is also a full time job, to be honest.
The most important things to me are probably in more than one of these categories and that’s basically my system of prioritizing. It really works, because before I say yes to things now, I gotta make sure that they line up with what’s most important to me. I also try to focus on one or two things at a time. I think its so important to target our efforts as strategically as possible. We really only have twenty four hours in a day and at this stage of my life, a lot of it goes toward school and my spirituality and many times even when I appear to have time, I’m too tired to do much, so prioritizing in this way has helped me reduce distractions and keep my eyes on the things that matter. I’ve also learned to choose recreation that is truly refreshing and not draining/exhausting.
I have to keep checking that I’m still balanced and doing the things that make my life better from time to time, but it is so worth it. Life has never been better.
How are you doing? I know it must be different for everyone so I’m curious to know, what’s really important to you? What’s your priority algorithm? Have you found an ‘algorithm’ yet? Let’s talk in the comments!
If you’d like to talk more, but not in the comments, feel free to send me an email or contact me on social media!
I’ve been in surgery from 7am- approx. 5pm everyday this week. I hope your week is better. Regardless, hang in there, it’s almost the weekend! ^_^