I used to think of January as the month after the craziness of the holiday season, where I ease into the year, setting goals and repacking my bag for what is to come. This year, however, I’ve started off at a much brisker pace than I anticipated, and it seems I am not alone. At last week’s Leadership Atlanta Women’s Summit, I kept hearing the exchange, “this can’t be the last Friday of the month already!”
January is the month I typically kick off the year with gusto, going after my new goals. But as I look at the box of new files on my credenza, I think my goals may currently be exceeding my bandwidth.
I see my files for Signature Programs, Signature Selects, and Signature Circles, all of which I am very excited to accomplish this year. I also see files from last year, waiting to go in the drawer, such as house items and taxes. I also have a folder labeled “FUN.” I have a few vacations in mind for 2018 – a few opportunities to treat myself – but I’ll never get to that folder if I don’t find a way to free up time and make that a priority.
Some of you may have read “Repacking your Bag for the rest of your life”, which is the title of a book by Richard Leider. It’s time to pull the book out and put it into practice again.
As we go through life, we are constantly adding items to our suitcases – responsibilities, relationships, and other things – but we rarely take out what we don’t need anymore. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of using laundry baskets for packing when I leave my home in North Carolina to drive to Atlanta to stay with my son, daughter-in-law, and my new granddaughter. I no longer take a suitcase because that would require making decisions about what to bring and what to leave behind. In life, we don’t have room for laundry baskets. Our time is finite, so we must make decisions about what deserves to be in our bag and what doesn’t.
Repacking your bag requires intentionality. You need to include the most important things first. Your most important relationships, obligations, and goals. Then you can fill some of the space around these big items, but only some of the remaining space.
The most important part of the exercise of repacking your bag, is to make sure you leave space inside. Without the space, we have no room to allow a new relationship to come in. We have no space for an idea or an opportunity to show up and take advantage of it. And, we have no space to “just have space” – to do the whimsical, unplanned, serendipitous, fun activity in the moment.
I am committed to making room – room for things critical to my mission of developing women leaders, room for my most important relationships, and room for FUN! I hope you will join me in finding space for your own most important items.
How will you create capacity for the most important things in your life?