Pulling into the driveway exhausted, I know I look the way I feel. I started 15 hours earlier, arriving at the office at 5AM to call, email, and even fax banks on the east coast. By the time I had sent client financial packages, offers and counter offers on all transactions, and returned calls and emails from agents, the noon hour was upon me. A few appointments were in my calendar for the afternoon, so I ran through the Carl’s Jr drive thru and racked up a nearly 2400 calorie meal before racing off to show houses. Painfully, a particularly hard storm and earlier accidents tripled my 30 minute commute to 90. With a day that busy, I expect tiredness. But this is not tired, this is debilitating fatigue. Why?
I come from a family of work ethics and resilience. Our family lore is filled with stories of working graveyard shifts, 3 jobs, and digging ditches in the rain. I know how to work hard. My parents required my brothers and me to work summers as hod-carriers on bricklaying crews, half to teach us hard work, half to keep us focused on our studies. Working 14 hour days all summer was hard, just the same, I not only kept up I thrived. But it’s this busy paperwork and driving around all day that does me in. Why? Not the hours, not the pace, not the complexity. No, it’s the utter futility. I am busy ALL DAY and yet did NOTHING.
Have you had days like this? Days filled from pillar to post with activity, but devoid of accomplishment. Perspiration without productivity. Movement but no meaning. This kind of work plagues us. And our technology exacerbates the problem. Now, instead of a few means of communication limited in time and geography, we feel compelled to monitor ALL lines of communication at all hours and everywhere.
In Bruce Almighty, Bruce Nolan receives God’s powers for a short time. Early on, God gives Bruce just one day’s worth of prayers from one neighborhood. He is utterly overwhelmed with requests. He orders them transformed from voices to post it notes. Instantly every surface of his house is covered inches deep with the yellow adhesive squares. I feel the same way when I open my phone. The tyranny of red circles--notifications from dozens of apps letting me know that someone has liked a post, left a text message or voicemail. And if I ignore a social media app for a couple of days to restore my fragile sanity, the social media company will email me or send me notifications on its companion platforms. I imagine a future where Facebook sends the police to check on my well-being after 3-4 days off the app.
In the face of this reality, it is up to us--you and I--to take back our lives. We can’t wait until our inbox is empty and every request responded-to. Here is my solution: Do what matters today! My hope for you is that everyday you take actions that really matter, that are filled with meaning, and make a difference for you, your family, and your community. That every day you go to bed knowing that you did something that matters (and unconcerned about the meaningless things you didn’t get to). And that’s the point, to show you a method to: