Pacing yourself

Photo courtesy of Todd Lappin (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Todd Lappin (Creative Commons

If there is a crash or an accident in an auto race, the pace car comes out to slow the cars down, and allow time to clean up the mess. They continue moving, but at a slower rate, and passing is not allowed. Usually after a few laps, the pace car then pulls off the track and the race continues.

It’s like that in life too. I think we sometimes become so out of control and overwhelmed, we don’t realize that we are working way too hard and cramming way too much into a day. Then the wrong things get done, mistakes start to happen, and we are headed for a crash.

Like the pace car in an auto race, we need something in front of us to slow us down so we can find a better balance and regain our awareness of our situation. Then once we get control, the pace car can pull off and we take off running (or racing) again.

For me, that means taking time to do a periodic review of the things I have on my plate and that I have said yes to, so I can take stock of all the little actions that need to be taken. Otherwise, I end up barreling ahead in the wrong direction, and forget this other project that I needed to be working on. Suddenly I’m scrambling with extra complications because I neglected to take care of this other project when I should have.

In David Allen Getting Things Done style, I try to do a brain dump of everything in my head – from write business plan to pay bills to schedule appointment for checkup. Then I can determine what steps are next for each thing, and group things together – calls, errands, online, etc. I really need to do this weekly – I’m lucky to stop once a month.

Often I find that there are a few things I need to take care of right away, and by clearing that mental clutter away, I have renewed focus for the big project at hand. What a relief! And why don’t I do that more often?

The start of a new month is a perfect time for a  thorough review. Let’s get that pace car in front of us so we can get back on track.