I’m writing this as I prepare to head off on a week-long business trip, and it’s the first thing I’ve really written in the week leading up to this point. I’m not going to suggest that it hasn’t bothered me that I haven’t written in a while — it has. But it hasn’t bothered me as much this time around as it has in the past.
It’s because other things need to come first.
I write a lot when I’m on the road because I’m often traveling alone. I don’t have my family with me, my Internet connection can be sporadic, and I have a lot of transit time that affords me the time to do nothing but write. Since last week, I’ve spent my time tying up closing as many open loops as I felt needed to be closed and I’ve spent time delivering the goods at home. That’s what I needed to do. Not just so that I could write while traveling, but so that I could leave home and know that I’ve done everything I could to make things easier for my family while I’m gone.
There are meatballs in the freezer. There’s not a stitch of dirty clothing in the house. The lawn is cut especially short.
The work that had to be done at home is done. Tomorrow as I board a ferry, then a plane, and then another plane, I’ll spend time on the work that didn’t have to be done at home. The needs will be different from the ones at home, and they can have my full attention because of what I’ve done leading up to my departure.
All of these needs are taken care of appropriately because of awareness, not an app. Sure, the apps I use can help, but it’s “the app within” that really makes the difference. It’s that app that informs all of the other apps I use to be more effective and efficient. It’s that app that helps me decipher what’s really important over what is less so. It’s the app that keeps me focused on the task at hand more than the time on hand.
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” – Aristotle
If you’re having trouble figuring out what you need in order to get the right stuff done, then the first thing you need to do is slow down. Only by slowing down can you really have the time to think clearly about what matters over the long haul instead of simply doing for the sake of doing. What you need will be different from what anyone else needs, whether you work in a team-based environment or fly solo, and those needs will also change depending on the circumstances. The thing that will help you keep the right needs in mind for every situation is awareness. You can tap into your awareness most effectively by slowing down.
Once you gain that awareness — which is what everyone needs — then you can take the right action as your next action, as opposed to action for action’s sake.