I remember being an elementary school kid when the word Windows computing first became a part of my everyday language. Now I want to make it clear that I was born in the 70’s. “Computing”at that time, in its most cutting edge understanding, meant floppy disks, dot matrix printers and bubbled back screens. My mother had casually mentioned to a family friend that she would like to learn about how to operate “Windows” on a computer. As a nosy eight year old eavesdropping on adult conversations, I tried to imagine what this could mean. I envisioned some sort of graphic window popping up onto a computer screen randomly.
I didn’t understand at that tender age that it meant portals to accessing information and productivity. It meant running multiple tasks simultaneously and manipulating tabs. It took me years to come to the realization and skill level to masterfully manage computing Windows. Today I’m confident that I can easily open, close, copy, paste, drag, drop and manipulate all sorts of tab functions with careful attention. Have I always done that? Well that’s another story altogether.
There are times in everyday life when my brain is super charged by what seems like gallons of caffeine, ok maybe it’s more like three strong cups of tea and a few sips of an energy drink. While all this wonderful energy is surging through me and calling out my under eye bags as hypocrites, many of my “windows” are open. I’m swiftly moving from one tab in my brain to the next. I pounce from task to task, opening and closing them. Or I halfway complete one only to jump to the next leaving the first unfinished. In these moments I feel such a sense of irresponsibility.
Asking myself honest questions, I wondered, “Did I do that last thing well?” or “Why am I running out of stamina in the midst of this important task?” Life is demanding that I multitask because some tasks require more time. They are the tabs that need to stay open until I can find the solution to them or finish them to the best of my ability. I have some that have been open for weeks at a time and some for a day or two. Then there are the lost ones. These I simply do not have the interest, time or energy to keep open or I’ve accidentally closed prematurely.
Daily I’m faced with the very adulting responsibility of deciding which tabs stay open. I’m required to prioritize tasks in order to focus and produce. This in and of itself can be tiring as my human brain powered by three cups of Earl Gray tea tells me I have what it takes. Sure, I can keep ALL of these open and do a great job on each of them. Somewhere deep down inside of me I know, truthfully, I can’t. I know that if I don’t close a few of them I’ll run the risk of becoming overloaded and confused. So I make a list. I love lists. They make me feel organized and in control of my life. My lists help me to determine the most important tabs to keep open. I gleefully cross out my tasks, close out the tab and move on to the next.
As I lay down to sleep at night I face the very real circumstances of my life. Tomorrow there will be tabs left open from the previous day or week. I will have to finish up time consuming tasks that I do not enjoy as much as sitting on a sunny beach. Tomorrow I will start the day all over again with new items on my list. But today, I can work to my very best.
Today I can let go of perfectionism while working on that list. Today I can be grateful for everything that gives my life meaning. These things won’t always show up on my to do list or a tab. Today I can accept that my list will always have too many items but open tabs can be closed.
I know we all want more time management strategies and productivity hacks because that’s what keeps Youtubers employed. Well here’s one: close the tab and mark it off your list. We don’t need to be running on all cylinders everyday. We can say no to one more item. I challenge us all today to do the thing that we think we can’t. Close one tab and if you’re really brave maybe two.
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