Imagine this: a small hole in a wall, perhaps only a half-inch in circumference, and it needs to be patched with spackle.

If you try to repair a small hole with a ton of spackle, it’s useless. As soon as you cram some in, the excess slides out. It won’t fit.

Widening the hole to accommodate more spackle, of course, would be lunacy.

But this was what we do with our desires for more time. We try to subvert the laws of seconds and minutes and hours that turn into days, weeks, months, years. We tell ourselves that we can cram in more than we can actually cram in.

In the meantime, this pattern makes us miserable.
In the meantime, we don’t enjoy anything of what we have, what’s here now.

Two Truths About Time

We all have the same amount.
You cannot create more.

Meditate on that for just a moment. We all have the same amount. You cannot create more.

If you really “got it,” deep in your bones that this is true, what would you do differently with your life?

Would you stop saying yes to the things that feel like heavy burdens of obligation?
Would you buy less, so that you’d have less to monitor, pay for, clean, or otherwise take care of?
Would you feel less stress, and more ease, because you clearly saw the fallacy of believing that if you JUST organize, focus, and quadrant your time into categorized blocks, there would me more of it?

Getting Organized and Focused

Funny thing, this “getting organized and focused” story line–some of the people who get the most done are constantly saying to themselves and others, “I’m so behind; I just need to get more organized and focused.”

They believe it, too.

This borders on something like a disorder. You know how someone with anorexia is unable to see how very thin she actually is? People who get a ton done, who are actually very efficient, tell themselves that they don’t do enough and that they need to do ever more.

Tired All the Time

By the way, are you tired, all of the time?

This “trying to cram more spackle into the tiny hole” pattern is fucking exhausting.

If you’re tired of being tired, at some point you’ve gotta just drop it–all that you’ve been trying to hold, organize, categorize.

You rest. Then you look around, and you ask yourself: “What’s actually important, here? What’s worth picking back up?”


“Organized and focused” is actually a feeling. It’s a feeling that has little or nothing to do with the cleanliness of your house or whether you have reached inbox zero.

When you know what your priorities are, it’s a lot easier to “get organized” or “feel focused.”

So what are your priorities? (Try writing them down).

Then ask yourself: Do I actually live this way?

If you don’t, then consider that what stops you from living in alignment with your priorities probably isn’t that you haven’t found the right time management system, yet.

Also, it’s probably not that you need to organize your desk drawers or trick out your office.

Finally, it won’t really make much difference whether you write out a meal plan every week, or wing it each night in the kitchen.

What will make a difference? What will have you living in alignment with your priorities? How you treat yourself as you go through your day to day. Deal with the inner critic voices, and you’ve officially put yourself in the express lane to feeling more “organized” and “focused” in your life–because your laser focus is poised for happiness. You’re not going about your day, trying to do your thing, all while beating the shit out of yourself in the process.

Getting Things Done

Getting things done is, on many levels, over-rated (I never knew this until I became a mother).

What’s more important–what feels better–is being clear what your priorities are. Not someone else’s obligations are; not what your priorities are “supposed to” be. Yours. What are your priorities, the things that uniquely make you feel more like…well, you? The things that, when you honor them by giving them a central place in your life, bring you joy?

My priorities are my kid, my partner/our marriage, writing.
My priorities are reading as many books as possible, roller derby, and travel.
My priorities are working my way up to CEO in the company, yoga teacher training on the weekends, and
My priorities are doing as little as possible, just breathing, just being.

There are infinite ways to do thing called life. It’s miserable to try to endlessly cram things in; it’s joyful to pare back.

You actually have plenty of time, if you get clear on what you desire most.

(Not clear on what you want to prioritize? Check out the Shift Plan, a free download just for YCL subscribers).