I had an interesting thought the other day - why can't we look at life like an equation that needed to be balanced all the time. On the left hand side of the equation the coefficients represent the priorities and the variables represent the commitments that exist. On the right hand side of the equation you can either use the constant for 24 hours for a day, 7 days for a week, 30/31 days for a month, 365 days for a year - but it is always a constant. The equation may look something like this
3x + 4y + 7z + 2a + 4b + 5c + ... = 24
The commitments never really go away they keep going down in priority and come up again and so the variables always stay in the equation its just that the priorities of the commitments keep changing and so the coefficients keep moving themselves up and down. Life is all about balancing this equation. The key is to never get any one coefficient so high that it gets out of hand. You need to always manage all the coefficients within manageable levels as they keep getting higher and lower based on the situation.
The problem with us humans is that we never keep the equation simple - we always like adding new variables into the equation without understanding what the new variable would do to the fragile balance that exists already. Its like any system as soon as you add something new there is always a period of uncertainty and instability which has to be dealt with. So the key is to have control over the variables being added to the equation. There is a constant on the right hand side that is not going to move - so giving priority to one variable will always guarantee that something else does not get the attention needed which usually happens when we add something new to the equation.
Another thing that we need to do but never really do is remove variables from the equation - this can be done in 2 ways - finish the commitment and take the variable out. We always tend to leave things half done that keeps the variable there all the time or we never really accept that we can't take care of the commitment even though we accepted it. We need to learn to say no or tell the person as soon as possible that it won't be possible as i have a 100 other variables that need to be taken care of. If we say this early enough I am sure most people will understand and appreciate it.
Another funny thing about this equation is that you do not have control over the coefficients in the equation. They are dependent on the other parties involved in the commitment. So the more control you have over the numbers the easier it would be to manage the equation. But this is much harder to accomplish.
Imagine what would happen if you did not even have control over the variables (commitments) being added to the equation. Adding it yourself causes instability - if someone else adds it - sure shot way to chaos. So do not give up this power to anyone else at any cost.
It is always necessary to know what are all the variables in the equation since you do not want to ignore a variable so long that it gets out of control. People do this through task lists or reminders. But it is important to always be aware of all the variables.
So the bottom line is
- Always know your variables
- Add new variables carefully
- Complete the ones that are already there
- Remove the ones that you feel you can not close out
- Try controlling the numbers
- Do not let others add variables to your equation
Do this and take control of your life.