Lately, I have noticed that I am just too busy. I am not getting enough sleep, I am perpetually tired, but the to-do list doesn’t seem to be getting any check marks on it. Do I have too much on my plate? Have I taken on more than I can chew? Am I terrible at time management? Perhaps, all of the above. But, I need my 8 hours and I have come to realise that the only way I can get any meaningful work done, is if I make myself dispensable. In a constructive way.
Which of us can resist the temptation of being thought indispensable?Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
The world keeps telling us that we need to be on top of our game, to keep your eyes on the prize, make ourselves indispensable. We all like being needed. We all like being that go-to person for everything. It boosts our ego, makes us feel that we are important. But the truth is that no one is indispensable. In the ‘new normal’, being dispensable has become imperative.
Step One: Create your own team
Jay won’t let me help with his business, and now Manny won’t let me help with his homework. It’s so frustrating. I have all the answers! –Gloria from Modern Family.
Your home may be your castle but don’t be a dictator. Be a socialist. Whether it is the running of your household or your relationships, ensure that there is collective ownership. When you have a small child, you might be the sole caregiver but that need not (read should not) continue till they are teenagers. You might feel that you have all the (right) answers but Life is about letting everyone find their own answers in their own way, in their own time. By letting go, you will be holding on – to ideals of self-reliance, self-control, and most importantly, self-care.
Step Two: Manage everyday tasks and people — The Bicycle Analogy
Just like riding a bicycle, one needs to find one’s centre of gravity, keep looking forward, and applying the process to everyday tasks. The front wheel is about people – communicating expectations, managing conflicts, improving motivation, and maintaining a solid and positive interaction.
The back wheel is about the day-to-day running of your domain. It is about delegating tasks, creating ownership, monitoring responsibilities. Once the expectations are set, each team member’s role in the running of the household can be delegated. We have changed and so have our roles. We need to play along.
Step Three: Piecemeal time
I love the POMODORO technique. It is such a small piece of time (25 minutes) that one does not feel like they are investing too much. And then, there is the 5-minute break to look forward to. I am making this technique my friend. Even though I have not yet achieved the ideal 8 POMODOROs in a day, but even getting 4 done gets me super charged up. It is 25 minutes of focussed work, one task at a time.
It is easier said than done…
Having said all this and written this blog, I am still struggling with this notion. It is hard to accept that we are not necesary in the lives of the people we love. It makes my day when my son tells me that I am the most important in the world to him. But, I am also aware of the fact, that there will come a day when this truth will be taken for granted and there will be other, and more important truths taking precedence in his life.
So, this is my self-preservation technique. I would rather be armed and ready to slide into my corner of solitude when the day arrives because it doesn’t take much to turn the beauty of solitude into thorny loneliness.