We Lost An Entire Day This Week

I had an entirely different newsletter planned but I lost an entire day this week.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde’s line about parents in The Importance Of Being Earnest:

To lose a few hours may be regarded as a misfortune;

To lose an entire day looks like carelessness.

Yet nonetheless that’s what happened with Vlad’s first unscheduled vet visit.

The morning was glorious.

Endless runs and chases in the baseball field.

An encounter with his best friend Malibu as we exited.

A cool down walk around the block, followed by his greeting every person who works in the building with enormous enthusiasm.

(He may secretly be running for office.)

I served him his gourmet breakfast and then tucked him into his crate for a nap near my side.

When he woke, however, he was wobbly and shaky, visibly disoriented.

Basically, not himself.

We tried a walk around the building with Robbie and then the roof dog run, where Vlad threw up, and momentarily seemed a little better.

And then, more and more, he was barely able to stand.

An emergency vet appointment seemed wise.

I like the vet very much and he did rule out a few possibilities like clogged ears but the diagnosis was uncertain at best.

His best guess was that it was probably something Vladimir ate.

The prescription was simple.

Give him a bland diet, no carousing in the park and dog run for a few days, and keep a close eye on him.

If nothing improved, there were a score of blood tests and X-rays ahead.

And, sure enough, within a few hours, Vlad was pretty much back at full gallop: hungry, steady on his feet and very eager to play.

The experience did consume the bulk of the day, however, and even though I tried unsuccessfully to get some work done while waiting for the vet to see us, ultimately surrendering to the experience seemed the only viable option.

I’ve been thinking a lot about organization and efficiency lately––it’s the theme this month of our Inner Circle––particularly regarding time.

For decades my own tendency was to construct a To Do List of Olympian proportions.

As a comprehensive list of everything I could possibly do under ideal conditions (or if I were a robot), it was useful.

As a practical agenda for the day, it was overwhelming.

One of the things that made a huge difference for me was Steven Covey’s Four Quadrants system.

It was invaluable…and at first it drove me crazy.

You construct a grid where at the top you have two categories: Urgent & Not Urgent.

And on the left, you have two categories: Important and Not Important.

And then you put everything you have to do where it belongs in the matrix.

For myself, as for many of the clients and students I’ve shared this with, Urgent & Important often mesh together. 

Although I know the dictionary definitions of both those words, in practical experience, they were mostly one and the same. 

And when every item on your to do list has a red star attached to it, nothing has a clear priority.

When everything seems Urgent & Important, then nothing is.

I also realized that I wanted to spend more time in Quadrant II––the Time of Quality––versus putting out fires (Q1 & Q3) or dealing with distractions (Q4).

For me, the system was revolutionary…perhaps it will be the same for you.

Secondly, another thing that’s helped me is that I’m embracing the power of doing less.

Every day, I think about what Coco Chanel said:

“Before you leave the house,

look in the mirror

and take one thing off.

It is always better to be underdressed.”

Except I do that with my schedule.

I complete it on my laptop.

I print it out.

And then I have a little stylish mercy on myself and take several things off.

I reprint that list and work from it, the “underdressed” version of my day.

And, like Chanel said, it’s always better.

I also crosscut each completed item with a yellow highlighter.

Rather than having a comprehensive list with so much left undone, it’s vastly more satisfying to have a shorter, simpler list that’s complete.

Rather than a PhD dissertation you never finish, it’s like getting an A+ on a pop quiz.

Instead of a log of incompleteness, it reframes each day as a Win.

(Speaking of Winners)

Next week, I have some new things I’m very excited share.

Specifically, a new Meditation of the Month inspired by a really cool video interview we did with a Feng Shui expert.

For once, I feel (slightly) ahead of the game.

And yet I’m wise enough to know that there will be days that no matter what Time Management System I use or how much I simply my agenda, it will all get tossed to the winds.

My website will once again have a problem that only someone from Upwork in Cairo can fix.

(That happened too on the Full Moon).

I’ll be drafted into mediating a distracting Quadrant 4 drama between colleagues.

Or running with his crew at 7am, my puppy will eat something unknown on the baseball field.

It’s helpful then that I know with absolute clarity that the wellbeing of those I love is always undeniably both Urgent & Important. 

Namaste for Now,

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