Here's a question you may not have asked yourself recently: What do you want to do during your workday?
One theme throughout the book and might be the only idea you really need to focus on is having an active thought about what you want to do each day. Do you want a clean house? To play with your kids? Professionally do you want to get a big project done at work, avoid infighting This part of the book reminded me of the Cheshire Cat responding to Alice that it doesn't really matter what path you take if you don't care where you want to go.
Creating a list of what you want to do though is really hard and especially so when you're in the middle of a day. Just the other day both of my daughters were playing very nicely together in the basement and I had finished washing the dishes from lunch and everything was ready for dinner. The floors had been swept but could have been mopped - our floors could always be mopped - and the bathrooms cleaned but neither were too dirty. And I didn't have anything to do. I can't remember what I did but it probably consisted of Facebook, Twitter, Instapaper, repeat. I needed structure so that I could work towards things.
Vanderkam suggests a "List of 100 Dreams." I'm a big fan of lists and this idea seemed to solve my problem of, Ok, now what do I do?
Ever since I've been a stay at home parent I've really struggled with what to do next. As an undergraduate my list was simple, get good grades, make some money, play ultimate frisbee, have a girlfriend. Those were the only four things I wanted and some of them I did well because of that focus. In graduate school it was the same four things except my wife didn't want me to have a girlfriend. When I worked it was make more money and make my job better. Now? I have no idea.
I've let me physical health ebb and flow like the April temperatures in Ohio. I've been unfocused because the day to day things have taken over and crowded out any dreams or big ideas I've had. How to fix it?
Vanderkam has four suggestions.
- Seize control of your schedule.
- Do not mistake things that look like work for actual work.
- Get rid of non-core-competency tasks by ignoring, minimizing, or outsourcing them.
- Boost efficiency by getting better at what you do.
Those are the four things I need to improve on so I have more time for my list of 100 dreams. My 100 dreams though, I still don't know and that's the problem.
In a few hours - it's a Saturday morning - everyone in my house will be awake, eating breakfast and asking me what we are going to do today. Tonight we'll go to church and out to dinner but this morning and afternoon I don't know. I think if we had our dreams as a family though we would work towards one of those.