Order Q4

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 3, Q4

Order: “Let all your things have their place; let each part of your business have its time.

Personal notes for the week:

  • Short week with a lot to do;
  • Enjoy Thanksgiving.

Whenever I think of Order, do you know where my thoughts immediately stray? The endless list of growing, and useless, “to-do’s.” Unfortunately I skip over the first clause of Ben’s sentence: “Let all your things have their place” and instead try to accomplish everything. Regimental drudgery takes over and I become miserable. It’s not what Order is about – not at all.

Over the past year, I’ve realized that whenever I get caught in the Order trap – the trap of lists, schedules and plans – I usually end up miserable. I’m miserable because: One, I don’t care about most of the stuff in my inbox or on my schedule; Two, once I pretend to care about it and add it to a list, I immediately care about it greatly, even though I don’t care about it at all; Three, when I greatly care about that which I don’t care about, I’m never more fraught to explode; Four, overloaded, I explode; Five, I feel guilty I exploded and spiral in misery. The Order trap, it’s one of the fastest ways to accomplish nothing.

Practical tips. 1) Don’t waste effort on items that needn’t get done in the first place. Practice whittling away until core items remain. Ten items on your list? Focus on two. 2) Everything takes approximately 10 steps, 1 item is not 1 item. Mailing a postcard entails buying a postcard, writing a postcard, finding a stamp, remembering an address, writing the address and walking to the mailbox. I spent all day yesterday mailing a postcard. 3)  Get it done. If it is important and needs to be accomplished, the longer it hangs out there, the worse you’ll feel. Nothing feels better than clearing a list of important items.

And it’s true, nothing feels better than tackling what needed to be tackled. A weight is lifted, angels sing, and the rest of the day proceeds with ease. That is the key to Order. Order is not about tackling everything. Order is not about running yourself ragged. Order is about creating attainable goals. Order is about calmly navigating the day. Order is being free to let all things have their place in your life. It took a while to learn, but when I’m not chasing frivolous tasks, the world is calmer, and I’m far less likely to lose my mind when my 2-year-old wants to play. After all, playing with my 2-year-old should be at the very top of my list, but I’ll never add it to a list. The most important things in life are never on a list.


Next Week 

Ben Franklin’s 13 Virtues: Week 4, Q4

Resolution: “Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.

Personal notes:

  • Determine key tasks this week;
  • Ignore unnecessary items;
  • Act with purpose.

The turkey hangover has scrambled my brain. All I want to do is go back to doing nothing while eating more gravy. With Christmas lists and holiday cheer on the horizon, it’s going to take a lot of Resolve to get anything done this week.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving