The magic of the time sensitive goal

The 6 year old just came up to me and asked me to smell his teeth.  It’s a Saturday.

So there’s no time.  And no energy.  The 3 and 9 year olds fight, and the baby climbs on you, and the 6 year old sends an endless stream of monologue into your ear as you try to snatch a moment to reflect and transform swirling intellection into words on a page.

There will never be time for the important things.  There will never be energy for the important things.  Because we’re under water.  And that frantic frenetic flailing attempt to push to the surface of an infinite ocean of chores- that’s akin to drowning.  The 6 year old is waving a tiny toy fox six inches in front of my face and making little squeaky foxy sounds that demand my attention as I try to type.  I hear the 3 year old in the kitchen, possibly eating the butter.  It’s a great time to make a million dollars.

What could you accomplish if you cared enough to make time for it?

Husband had his first fancy pants coaching call with his fancy pants coaching coach yesterday.  I wasn’t sure what post-call report to expect, but I sure didn’t expect the first thing he said- “We have to get bedtime under control” (more or less, as mentioned, we don’t sleep, don’t expect perfectly accurate quotage).

Getting bedtime for our rowdy and ridiculous 4 kids under 10 under control as the first step to paying off $1 million dollars in debt?  We’re paying this coach how much…? 

Here’s why it makes sense, and why we didn’t think of it before.  We don’t have enough time.  Bedtime feels interminable and eats up most of our evening and energy.  We need to reclaim that time.  Find a way to help our kids feel safe and warm and cozy and loved (and in their beds!) at a reasonable hour so we can have a bit of time to push forward on our project.

Why we didn’t think of it before- We’re drowning!  We’re tired, we’re discouraged and demoralized.  We have a bunch of underlying assumptions about what is possible and what is necessary.  

We have more time than we think we have and we have more energy than we think we have.

I think there’s something invigorating about a time sensitive goal.  We can’t wait until conditions are right (when would that be?  When the last kid goes off to college?) we have to get things rolling now.  This presents the tantalizing prospect of dramatic change right now.  But to get to that change, we’ve got to act.  Imperfectly and messily, embracing mistakes and missteps as opportunities for growth and learning.  No money-making endeavor is going to make one cent percolating in our anguished minds as we over think, over plan, and finally kick the can down the road to “eventually.”

I struggle with a kind of perfectionism that leads to never getting anything done.  If I am going to create and put something out into the world, I want it to be perfect.  I once took 9 months to reply to an email from an old friend I had been trying to reconnect with.  It wasn’t that I forgot about her- on the contrary, I was thinking about her the whole time, and I wanted to send her a perfect email, but I never could find time in my over the top busy schedule with 3 little kids and a newborn to craft that perfect email.  I finally got over myself and just sent out an okay email that actually existed (instead of the ideal email that probably never would).  She hasn’t written back…

I never actually try anything because my life is messy, my house is messy, there are endless chores to distract me, and my kids are cacophonously loud.

So back to this time sensitive goal.  Because we’ve time boxed this thing to a year, and because we’re doing it together, there’s suddenly this amazing freedom to just do B minus work.  I’m discovering that it’s a huge relief to step out of my usual role of overthinker, super judger, nay sayer, and instead pivot into a new willingness to do a thing worth doing badly, quickly, maybe a little sloppily.  

So that’s what we’ve been doing for the last week.  Snatching bits and scraps of time to sloppily and speedily work towards our goal.  Even before revamping bedtime, it turns out we have more time than we thought.  But I don’t think we would have found the time if not for the urgency.  And once we just jumped in and got started, I feel like I’ve discovered energy I shouldn’t have, given how little our sweet 1 year old baby has allowed me to sleep this week.  

But I think there’s something more.  We’re not just throwing up our hands and accepting our messy life.  We’re taking agency and working to change the foundation of how we live, while simultaneously ceasing to take that foundation as the reason why we can’t take action now.  There will never be enough time for the important things- is that true?  There will never be enough energy for the important things- what about that?  I think we might be able to find both time and energy when we care enough about something to make it happen.  

We’re going to get that bedtime under control.  We’re going to fix that shower that’s been broken for months.  We’re going to organize that garage.  We’re going to break the flat surface rule.  We’re going to make a million dollars.

If we can do that in a year, what else could we do in a year?

I think the really interesting question is, what will we do next year, once the debts are paid?






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