Overwhelmed by my to-do list this week, I wasn’t at all productive for the last two days. Nor was my sleep.
I called my friend and mentor and spilled out my concerns.
“I feel like everything is so important that I can’t drop any ball I’m juggling right now.”
“Tell me what you have on your plate.”
“A new short film project. My weekly podcast. The dissertation outline that I’m collaborating with a Chinese screenwriting professor. The beat sheet of the animation project. And notes preparation for the three-hour lecture next Tuesday.”
“Here is a big jar and laying in front of you are the big rocks, the small pebbles and a pile of sand. How do you fill them all in without neglecting any?”
He knew that I got the answer but kept going for my own benefit, “The big rock is your most important, most urgent task. Right now it is the short film that you need to turn in by end of tomorrow. How about you focus on that for the rest of the day and get it done, so you can have time to finish editing your podcast tomorrow?”
I couldn’t help thinking, “Why does it sound so much less messy when it comes out of my friend’s mouth?”
“You just can’t do everything at the same time.”
True. ”But what if I am too tired too frazzled that I just watch YouTube?” I tried to hide behind the what-if, which is actually the reality I’m wrestling whenever the pressure gets the better of me.
“Well, then you just have some grow up to do. There are things you don’t like, but you are obligated to do it. Pace yourself and complete the task before those all-nighters compromise your health yet again.”
After the pneumonia-bad cold double whammy, I should know better.
Several hours after our conversation, I now have a rough first draft of the short film. But I need to take a couple of more revisions first thing tomorrow morning before sending it back to the director.
But hey, at the end of the day, I did tackle the big rock before romancing the other stones.