Often I find myself asking this question: What happened to yesterday?
I wonder where the time went and why I didn’t carry out what I set out to do yesterday. I look at the work I needed to do, and it’s all still waiting for me. So, I usually sit down with a cup of coffee and start sorting through my to do’s from yesterday as well as today’s. Trying to figure out how to get it all done in this 24 hours I’ve been given.
And you know what? It’s likely impossible to get two days’ worth of tasks done in one day. I know that. You know that. And yet we sit and try to juggle things into one day, maybe 24 hours, maybe less if you like to sleep.
A couple of weeks ago we were driving by a church in our neighborhood and saw the quote on this image. It struck me I’m guilty of doing just that.
I’ve been letting yesterday use up today’s time.
Fretting over what I didn’t do. Worrying over what is left to be done on my to do list. Make that plural — lists!
What if I took that energy spent letting yesterday interfere with today and just got on with it, whatever it might be?
I might get some things done. I might even get that memoir written I’ve been working on for how long now? I’d rather not talk about that.
But that is what it boils down to, isn’t it? Fussing about what didn’t happen 24 hours ago, what those hours didn’t see completed, isn’t going to add anything to today.
Instead, the fussing, fretting, hassling over yesterday’s unfinished work only hinders the completion of anything today.
Here’s my new course of action:
- If yesterday didn’t go as planned, let go of it.
- Take a brief look at what didn’t get done yesterday, prioritize it and move the most important items to the top of today’s list.
- Start working down the list, making the most of today to catch up.
- At the end of the day, whether I worked through every single item or not, repeat steps 1-3.
“Today expect something good to happen to you no matter what occurred
yesterday. Realize the past no longer holds you captive. It can only
continue to hurt you if you hold on to it. Let the past go.
A simply abundant world awaits. (January 11)”
― Sarah Breathnach, Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy
I always make a to do list for the day. Today got lost. Well yesterday. It’s 4:54 a.m and I am up due to some motor type noise outside that is preventing my sleep. Hence I doubt today will go well since I’m not sleeping. I hope I learn the cause of this distraction.
Sue, sorry for the disturbed sleep time. Did you learn the cause of the distraction? And I hope the nights and the days go better from now on.
I’ll add a # 5 to you new course of action: Be thankful I got this far. (I’m an avid list maker too, so I recognize the drive behind it all.) By the way, I just got out Sarah B.’s Daybook of Comfort and Joy to re-read after many years. Her perspective is re-assuring. Today we leave the lovely central CA coast and head east, exchanging jackets and sweaters for AC. Love your side of the country so very much.
Marian, I like that — “Be glad I got this far.” Sarah B.’s book was a gift to me from our son, and I have enjoyed it so much and many times over. Sorry to hear your leaving us for heat and humidity. Hope you enjoyed your time along our coast. My husband wants to know if you own that Citroen or borrowed it. I told you he’d be salivating at the sight of it!
We spotted the sporty car along the street in Carmel by the Sea. It fits my style a little better than the Chevy Impala we rented. Your husband has no need to be envious. Sometimes pictures lie!
I shall pass along your note to hubby. He’ll be disappointed that my friend doesn’t OWN a Citroen. 🙂
Sherrey, I don’t worry so much about the lack of work yesterday, but more about how to prioritize today’s work, and get it DONE. Thanks for the inspiration.
Yes, Sonia, prioritize today’s work and getting something done is at the top of my list any more. Glad you stopped by.
What Sonia said.Plus, it’s funny we keep making rules for ourselves. I do it every day. Here’s my latest: on the two days a week I provide childcare to my sweet grandbabies, I’m going to start leaving my laptop at home. Offline for the 10 hours I’m with them. When they nap, I will too. Or read a book. I’m calling it “my organic days.” Playing 1950’s housewife. This way, I hope I’ll focus as much as possible on the babies (one is 16 months, one is almost 3) and never feel that I’ve missed their childhood.
What matters, right?
Lynne, I personally vote for your priorities! I think you’ve got your grandma hat on straight. Indeed you’ve set things in the order of “what matters.” Good for you!
Hi Sherrey, I think age has something to do with my ability to just take one day at a time and not worry too much about all of the “shoulds.”
Getting older does have its benefits. 🙂
Grace, I love your comment about the “shoulds” that have faded into the background. Also, sage words about the benefits of growing older. 🙂
Thanks to comments on my own blog post today, I reconnected with a favorite poem that seems to fit your story also:quote
“The Way It Is
There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
~ William Stafford ~
And then there was this one:
How To Be a Poet
By Wendell Berry
(to remind myself)
Make a place to sit down.
Sit down. Be quiet.
You must depend upon
affection, reading, knowledge,
skill—more of each
than you have—inspiration,
work, growing older, patience,
for patience joins time
to eternity. Any readers
who like your poems,
doubt their judgment.
Breathe with unconditional breath
the unconditioned air.
Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
a three-dimensioned life;
stay away from screens.
Stay away from anything
that obscures the place it is in.
There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
Accept what comes from silence.
Make the best you can of it.
Of the little words that come
out of the silence, like prayers
prayed back to the one who prays,
make a poem that does not disturb
the silence from which it came.
Shirley, you have brought two of my favorite poets/writers to the pages of my blog! William Stafford, a past poet laureate of Oregon, writes beautiful poetry. And now his son, Kim, is following in his footsteps. Wendell Berry not only writes beautiful poetry but also some lovely books. Introduced to Berry by my brother-in-law some years ago. I’ve copied out these poems to print them and tack on the wall near my laptop so when my soul needs them, they’ll be right there. Thank you, dear friend, for such a lovely comment.
Sage advice. When I plan or try to organize a day’s activities I always fall short. It’s better to recognize that 24 hours has limitations and it’s no good not doing one thing in order to do another. I’d rather make a weekly list and try to tick off one or two things every day. But I admit that I do get frustrated at my inability to do everything as planned.
That said, I mourn the passing of each day and how yesterdays become forgotten tomorrows. So I try to make a note every morning of the previous day’s activities so that in some little way I can keep all my yesterdays alive – if only with a few sentences.
Susan, I think we all fall short each day — it’s just human nature. I like your idea of a weekly list rather than a daily one and attempting to accomplish one or two a day. Also like your honoring of each day’s passing. Something I may give a try. Thanks for stopping by!
Ah, Sherrey, I love the quote – it sure helps to put my current anxiety in perspective; I’ve just returned from vacation and need to remember that the break was much-needed … yes, I’ve fallen behind with my goals and I’m feeling slightly disoriented because of the time away from my desk, but there’s always time to catch up … and letting go of some stuff is no crime either 🙂
Belinda, there you are! I’ve been missing you and that lovely series you did before you went away. So good to see you’re back. We are long overdue for a phone call but right now my life is a bit like the zoo. So much so, we took an entire day on Wed. and spent it at the zoo. Very relaxing indeed!
When you get back and get your writing legs under you, I’d like to have you either write a guest post for Healing by Writing or allow me to interview you there, about the book, your move to America, life since then. Again, we should touch on change — it’s a big part of who you are to me! 🙂
It will be my pleasure; in fact, I did a reading this morning for at Rock my Ville Arts Festival and focused on both the expat’s culture shock upon arrival in her/his host country and reversed culture shock on the first visit back home. Let me know when you want to talk.
Belinda, how does the week of 8/19 look? The only morning I couldn’t talk is Wed., 8/21. Let me know what works for you and our time difference, and we’ll get something set up before life gets in the way for either of us. 🙂 Looking forward to this!
I put 08/20 (Tue) at 2pm on my calendar (EST), so that’s 11am for you. Does that suit you? If so, inbox me your number. I could do earlier as well.
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