This is Deanna, a sister on the West Coast exploring what it means to be a Jesus-loving storyteller in the world of Hollywood and Entertainment. Up until very recently (due to cross-country moves and a certain global pandemic) I have been riding that unemployment / job searching struggle bus. Maybe some of you will know what I’m talking about. It’s hard. Frustrating. Emotionally exhausting. Tests where you put your worth and identity every two seconds. Or at least it did for me.
But the one up side of life with this kind of a job status is you do have a lot more time on your hands! Or so it seems, at least.
At the start, my fear was that I wouldn’t use that time well. But over time, I started to realize I was really struggling– not with being un-production, but being productive in all the wrong ways. For example, I would make a to-do list, like a pro, every day and get right to checking it off for that oh-so-wonderfully satisfying feeling of a completed task. But the reality was, those completed tasks were things like returning that guilty-purchase from Target. Or paying the parking ticket I got on my way to said Target. Not not important to do! But I believe the word that is used by the writer of Ecclesiastes is toil.
What did I REALLY want to be doing with my time? What was I chasing after with those toilsome checked-boxes? What did I really want to be true? And why was it SO hard to actually do it?
for some reason, one Monday morning when I went to write my to-do list for the week, an illustration I heard at a conference once came to mind. That of a glass jar and a pile of rocks, pebbles, and sand that needed to, for some reason, magically fit into that glass jar. (I know, just go with it.)
So the speaker started by putting in the sand, then the pebbles, and then the rocks. But by the time we got to the rocks, the jar was so full of the sand and pebbles the larger rocks didn’t fit. (Maybe you see where this is going…)
So, the speaker took everything out and started again, only this time with the Big Rocks. And as he added the pebbles and sand around the big rocks, low and behold, everything suddenly fit!
The moral of the story is, if you start with the “little rocks” (simple household chores, errands, etc.), there’s no way you are ever going to fit the “big rocks” (the more emotionally investing things, like job applications). But if you start with the “big rocks”, you’ll find you not only fit the “big rocks” into your day, but the “little rocks” as well (or at least most of them).
I realized my priorities needed to shift if I actually wanted to accomplish what I REALLY wanted to accomplish. Not just the toil, but the things that actually mattered.
If you’ve seen the Kindred & Co. Simple Planner, you’ll notice there are two headings over the open check-list page that say “projects/tasks” and “notes”. So I decided to re-label them as “BIG ROCKS” and “LITTLE ROCKS” instead. This way, the act of having to discern which column to assign a task to forced me to pause and ask myself, “What kind of a priority is this REALLY? And why am I really doing it?”
Did I do this perfectly every week? No.
But I did begin to notice I felt a lot better about one or two check-offs in the “BIG ROCK” section than a bunch of check-offs in the “LITTLE ROCK” section.
Because, as Kindred & Co. puts so well, it’s not about WHAT you do, but HOW you do it and who you BECOME in the process. Am I someone who cares more about checking off the little rocks? Or climbing those Big Rocks? Even if it’s just one by one.
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