The Two Hostages of Too Much To Do
Too much to do... rushing through our days tackling one task after another, checking them off our list, and then forging ahead to the next one without delay. We may even take pride in being called a workaholic. We believe that all this hurried pace will one day offer us freedom from the rat race-when everything is done. What I have found, however, is that in this process we often hold hostage two essential elements required for success. Two things that in a reflective moment we would acknowledge should NEVER be neglected, but in our ever increasing pace of life, we cast them aside to hyper focus on getting all this "work" done. The two hostages you ask? Personal well being and relationships.
Merriam Webster defines a hostage as, "A person who is captured by someone who demands that certain things be done before the captured person is freed." How close does that sound to what we do when we are trying to get it all done? We "tie up" our wellness and relationships, demanding that everything else be accomplished before we will allow wellness and relationships to be "free" to be a part of our lives again. Two aspects of our lives that are the building blocks of productivity, and we limit their presence in our lives. Does that seem ironic to anyone besides me?
One of the quotes from the book, Getting the Blue Ribbon, is You are growing something every day. What grows, and how it grows is up to you. Ironically, what you don't choose to grow begins to die-or grow in a manner that is not desirable. While tasks that contribute most heavily to our sense of being productive may not seem like living organisms, how about our personal well-being and relationships? They ARE living breathing organisms that need our daily attention if they are to thrive.
An uncomfortable but effective solution to jolt us out of our denial may be to imagine those closest to us locked in a room, because we are mentally and emotionally doing that when we neglect the opportunities to engage in time with family, friends, and even coworkers. They really want to be a part of our day and support us, but we keep the door locked because we falsely reason that there will time for such things later. Or just as startling may be to think of ourselves being trapped in a place that is not pleasant because we refuse to take time to focus on activities that will recharge and renew our sense of purpose in life. Just as those who hold hostages pay a price for their crimes, so do we. And just like many hostage situations, the people being held are hurt as well.
Our personal wellness and relationships are just too important to neglect while we fervently try to get everything else done. What are you holding hostage today in your struggle to be productive? How much more effective would you be if you set those things free?