Leftover energy from new-year resolutionizing had me doodling on an index card… then pulling out my color markers.
The doodle made me remember that my first index card box was put together by my mom for me in 4th grade. I had been appointed the classroom “librarian” and was discombobulated by the task. My fellow students were mad at me because I was so pokey. So she made me a box and showed me how to organize the cards alphabetically.
She also gave me advice that stuck permanently. She told me about working the check-out counter in her family’s grocery store. If there was a long line of customers waiting to pay, she’d start feeling overwhelmed. So… she decided to just look at the customer in front of her and not see all the people standing behind them. In other words, one thing at a time. To me, this is core wisdom, like do unto others.
I tell myself this story often (seeing myself at my fourth-grade desk, facing a line-up of impatient young readers) — mostly when I sit down to post a bazillion things on ebay. It applies to everything, really, as much as I love grand strategies and big pictures. Her advice was be in the moment — attend to what is in front of you now — don’t project out to all the people, all the projects, all the tasks waiting impatiently for you — it only slows you down. (Thanks, ma.)