March 08, 2012

Sanity Check

A recent Wall Street Journal article asked a number of successful C-level executives what their secret to time management was, and amongst suggestions of prioritizing and budgeting time stood out one insightful instruction: make time to think.

For a go-getter like myself, it's hard enough to make time to do all of the things that I want to do. Mostly when I take time to think, I'm thinking about what I'm going to do, making plans, budgeting money, strategizing driving directions, juggling schedules.

But it's so easy to become so rapt in the doing that you don't even notice that you no longer want to be doing what you're doing. You're in a job that you find no longer satisfying, but it's your job, and you don't have another job, so why stop? You're in a marriage that you no longer find passionate, but she's your wife or he's your husband - you're married - and that's the plan, that's what you're doing, and that's what you're going to be doing. Inertia takes over. There are no stop lights.

There's a moment when you're about to have a one-night stand or sleep with a friend or someone else's boyfriend, and you're so caught up in what you're doing that you don't think about the consequences to all those involved, much less to yourself. And then you are overcome by the urge to pee.

And sitting on the toilet, you take a moment to think, you pause for a sanity check.

And when you emerge, you get dressed, and either collect your belongings or kick your companion out, and go to sleep alone, as you're destined to do.

Because as exciting as spontaneous is, it's somehow always better to plan ahead.

And when you find yourself on a path you don't really want to be on, it's OK to make a change of plans.

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