Why I’m Never “Caught Up”

Last week I listened to an interview with author Steve McClatchy on time management.  It was a bit mind altering. I had to listen to it three times to fully process the ideas Steve was presenting.  I wanted to summarize some of the main points that really captured my attention here and I hope it is as helpful to you as it was to me.  (The full interview can be heard on Success Magazine’s February 2015 CD.)

  1. There are 2 types of activities we do in life.

-Prevent pain activities:  Things that we have to do or we will have negative consequences- our “to-do” list.

            Ex: take out the trash, clean house, laundry, etc.

-Gain activities: Things that move us closer to our big goals in life.

            Ex: write a book, get a degree, go on a vacation

Most of the activities in the Prevent Pain category are cyclical and must be done on a repetitive basis.  In other words- you’ll never “get caught up.”  Often we tell ourselves, “I’ll work on my goals when I get caught up with _________ first.”   But if we wait to work on our Gain tasks until we have time we’ll never get to them because we’ll be too busy taking out the trash and doing laundry.   This is why some days we can feel like we’ve been so busy all day long but didn’t really accomplish much.  One solution for this abundance of tasks and shortage of time is to delete or delegate some of these simple, repetitive activities.

  1. We must make time for what’s truly important.

If we want to make progress on our goals we must be intentional about scheduling time to work on them.  The same is true for relationships.  Leaving things to chance or spare time will never work.  Get out your list of goals and your calendar and schedule time to make progress on what you truly want to work on, and then guard that time and commitment carefully.

  1. Do your best work at your best time.

We all have a different time of the day when we work best, when we feel our most alert, energetic and creative.  Schedule your most important tasks for these times so you can make the most progress- and save the mundane chores for your less productive times.  Don’t waste your best energy doing laundry.

  1. Live in the now.

We have to train our brain out of the habit of just crossing tasks off the to-do list and learn instead how to live fully in the present moment and actually enjoy the life we’re living now.  Vacations can help with this.  Schedule one today!




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2 thoughts on “Why I’m Never “Caught Up”

  1. I liked that article too…made me think of Steve covey’s book…the seven habits of highly effective people. You did a good job summarizing the article. I liked the words he used to separate important and ordinary tasks…gain and pain. Lots of food for thought. Must be intentional about living our lives before our life ends. Loved the quote you used at the end of your summary.