When we embark on the day thinking of all the battles to be fought and won, the chances are that, in our tunnel-visioned approach to each challenge, we could both wear ourselves out and also miss the most creative and gracious way of addressing the day by pursuing our quest to conquer all in our way. What is worse, when we expect a battle with the day, we often get one, with schedules being missed, argumentative people presenting themselves, computers crashing and things generally going wrong.
I can think of times where the paperwork and email volumes awaiting me have been overwhelming, and I have gone to the office ready ruthlessly to seek and destroy that which is not serving me, or which has to be dealt with no matter how little I really want to do so. Oftentimes, in that state, I will vigorously make an inroad, but eventually run out of steam. It is a bit like running full-tilt into a swamp, but then slowly sinking into the morass until I give up. In the office context, it means I leave a task half-done and then find something more interesting to do.
A completely different approach is to schedule time for each task, figure out who is best placed to assist me and then enrol him/her, do a sensible amount each day rather than try and knock it off in one hit and understand that I have some limits. Eventually it gets done, but from a state of willingness rather than drivenness, and I feel grateful rather than grumpily running headlong into the next task.
Battling the day is exhausting. It is generally about fire fighting and a reactive approach to what appears before us. Embracing the day is about planning it gracefully, being gentle on ourselves, acknowledging our limits and getting creative with the time and resources available.
So which do you do? And how well does your approach serve you?