Sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself to start things, but once I’m on the productivity train, it’s hard to derail me. I get moving in a particular direction and just keep going until I hit my destination.

The problem with this is I have several trains running at one time in my life, and I can’t really be on more than one at a time.

So the only way to keep things going smoothly in my life is learning to jump from train to train without killing myself.

People talk about work/life balance. But I honestly think there is no such thing as true balance – and trying to achieve this unachievable goal has made many a person crazy in the process (including me). We’re fed so much crap about being, doing, and having it all, that we begin to question our own validity when we can’t.

We can set priorities and we can stay as present as possible where we are, but in order to find success in any one part of our life, it has to take the front seat. If we give that seat to the same part of our life all the time, nothing else can move forward, however. So we must choose. We must ride the train of most importance at any given time. and that choice must be made as a conscious result of deep planning.

Two times of year (Dec/Jan, Aug/Sept), I spend a lot of time hashing out goals and priorities. (The two resources I go back to time and time again are Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Mapping and The One Thing. Both focus on setting long-term goals and then prioritizing daily patterns in a way to achieve them. I like LaPorte’s system, because it hones in on how you want to feel each day and then asks you to build goals and schedules around achieving that feeling rather than achieving tasks. The One Thing forces me to stop multi-tasking (trying to drive several trains at once…it’s impossible) and start focusing on the one thing that matters most at any given time. And both of them negate the “you can do everything” work/life balance myth. We all need white space in our day…even if that means we have to time block and actually put it on our agenda.

It’s a complicated thing to do, and the first time I did the goal-setting for either of these systems, it took days…even weeks. Now, I’ve got it down to a pretty quick review:

1.Come up with my core desired feelings (and these can change throughout the year): Connected
Receptive
Joyful

2. Come up with my “one thing” in each of my life categories:

3. Then time block to help myself achieve my goals over time and feel the way I want to feel each day.

It’s not fool-proof. And I still stress out (hey, anxiety doesn’t simply go away with a pretty schedule). But, at least I’m consciously trying to make time for the things that matter and slowly making headway toward goals I have set for myself.

Sometimes, work will have to come first. Sometimes it’s my family that must come first. Sometimes it’s my marriage. And sometimes, I need to come first.

When my life is running as smoothly as possible, and I’m train-jumping like a boss (keeping all my trains on the tracks as often as I can), that’s when I feel the happiest. To me, productivity + creativity + love = nirvana.

But, I’m a planner. Organizing and writing lists and checking off tasks is a fetish for me. Not everyone lives and dies by an agenda. And I get that (in fact, I’m a little jealous of you spontaneous, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants types).

I like everything in its place. So, over the next month, that’s my job…to put everything in its place. To get all my trains running in the same direction, so I can jump between them easily.


This post is in response to prompt 5 – part of my 13-Day Retreat. To join in, please click HERE for more information and possible prompts.

6 Replies to “Train Jumping”

  1. I think of “balance” as a process not a destination. We are never, according to my theory, in balance in a stationary way. If we are lucky we are keeping balance via movement and adjustments. I think this seems pretty consistent with how you talk about jumping trains. I like your metaphor!!
    Lexy recently posted…the soul is dyedMy Profile

  2. Apparently we are on the same track again Brigit! ? I use the train metaphor many times at work, usually when a conversation jumps to something off-topic. Normally I’m pretty good at track jumping, I’ll get back to it in time. Great post!

  3. I have to admit I’ve been wondering if its possible to truly balance work/life… I mean we spend so much time at work compared to at home.

    Our S2 admitted earlier that he contemplated suicide last night, going to a bridge nearby. Thankfully his friend talked him down.

    I think some of his issue is a lack of direction, he doesn’t know what he wants to do. I wonder if choices, that is the choices we have career wise is sometimes what makes is unhappy… we could do so many things we don’t know what to do for the best… perhaps it was easier when sons followed fathers… MrH would be an engineer and so would S2….. he would have a purpose, a job and probably be in a relationship which I know he wants…

    1. Oh my goodness…I’m glad he had a friend that helped him through that difficult situation. Lack of direction can definitely trigger my anxiety/depression, so I suppose it could be related. I know that when I am happy at work, I am usually much happier in life. Though, I honestly believe, even though I am terrible about it, that putting home and relationships first is really where it is at.

  4. I remember those train jumping days, Brigit and I have to say I don’t miss them in my retirement. However, there is something to be said for having to manage your time … it gets wasted a whole lot less :>) Hope your back to work goes smoothly … nj

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