I Am Too Busy To …Posted: January 27, 2014
Often I find myself not performing certain tasks, including but not limited to:
- Brushing and flossing my teeth twice a day–as recommended by dental authorities;
- Reading “Snowball”–a book about Warren Buffett that continues collecting dust on my bedside stand;
- Exercising, which apparently increases cell turnover rates and longevity, and;
- Calling old friends.
Why do I not perform these tasks? The standard reasons are “I am too busy”, “I forgot”, or “Something came up”. (I believe the most common is “I am too busy”, although I have no statistical data to validate this claim, which I am increasingly realizing is quite common for my opinions.)
Despite the stated reasons, I actually do not perform these tasks because none are critical to life. Some critical items (e.g. breathing, eating, sleeping, etc.) mostly take care of themselves. Other critical items must become critical for me to pay attention to them (e.g. cardiac arrests, random grizzly bear attacks).
Many would argue that “living” and “having a life” are two different propositions. So for the sake of discussion, let us accept as true that proposition and allow me propose a solution.
Someone could build a machine that allows us to experience “loss” associated with failing to perform certain tasks–loss associated with tooth pain or dental surgery, loss associated with not being as well-read as we desire, loss associated with overall poor health, and loss of good friendships. Rides in that machine might help us properly prioritize our busy lives, right?
Is this impossible or only mostly impossible–as Billy Crystal’s Miracle Max noted about death in “The Princess Bride”? (See approximately 1:46 of the video.)
As to impossible or mostly impossible–I do not know. But with humor and esoteric questions aside, here is my practical, concrete point: You have your own “loss” machine already and simply need to use it.
For starters, interface with human achievement and decline to remind yourself about prioritizing your tasks. (For example, I have a an older friend with new dentures, and he encourages me to care for my teeth–as I should. I think about his words when I do not want to brush and floss. Likewise, I have another friend who thinks in more advanced ways than I about business, and I learn a great deal by listening to him and thinking differently–both good tasks to perform.)
Next, consider this question: What tasks am I too busy not to perform? (I often remind myself that I am too busy not to exercise, because exercise makes me more efficient with other physical and mental tasks.)
Finally, remember that prioritizing your tasks is akin to sleep, sausage gravy, and “marital relations”: The real thing has no equal.
And that is all.