Tuesday Morning Wake-Up Call

Instead of trying to clear the decks, reach inbox zero or check every errand off your to-do list, acknowledge that you lack time for even a fraction of the things you want or need to do. Learn to tolerate the feeling—sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes anxiety-provoking—of having a lot clamoring for your attention, he says. And then: “Do the most important things.”

What those important things actually are has grown clearer, one silver lining of the turbulence of the past two years—war, gun violence, the virus. Joe Holt, a business professor at the University of Notre Dame and former Jesuit priest who splits his time between South Bend, Ind., and the Chicago suburbs, spent parts of 2020 and 2021 volunteering in an intensive-care unit as a nurse’s aide.

“They make me relish time,” he says of his days assisting patients suffering from Covid. He delights in tiny things: the ability to get out of bed, to walk in the sunshine. Never a big planner, he’s started setting goals, like completing an Ironman triathlon.

“Part of it is, my body is working right now and who knows if it will be in a year or two,” he says. “I’m more deliberate and determined when it comes to things like that.”

It can still be hard to know what to say no to and what to prioritize. Procrastination and decision fatigue kick in. Try to imagine what choice you’d approve of in a year or decade, recommends Alan Burdick, the author of a book about the biology and psychology of time.

Time is weird, amorphous and elastic, he says, with the ability to speed up or slow down depending on everything from how much we like something to how busy we are. At its core, he says, time is really about memory and what you’ll take with you after the seconds have passed…

“It was in the quiet…that I figured out how to reprioritize my time.”

—  Rachel Feintzeig, You Have Only So Much Time. Are You Using It Right ‘When you do the math, it really hits.’ After two life-changing years, decisions about how we spend our hours feel even weightier (The Wall Street Journal June 13, 2022)


  1. This must speak to you. I can tell you are type a and always juggling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This so speaks to me. I feel like I have been fighting a losing battle with time all my life. (yes even as a child)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I said “preach” yesterday, didn’t I? Ah well…preach redux!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Totally get this heading to (semi) retirement in 2 weeks. On one hand, I will have more time to do what I want, on the other, how much time do I really have left?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this approach to time and living life, and today is our longest day, let’s do the most important things

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This speaks to me – especially today. Thanks for sharing, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Doing that today, as it happens. Making the most of our time.


  8. “Acknowledge that you lack time for even a fraction of the things you want or need to do.” Wow. That can be liberating.


  9. “It was in the quiet…that I figured out how to reprioritize my time.”

    Amen. This is the only way I found the answers. 🙏🏻


  10. Simply ask ‘What’s most important to me?’ Then spend more time with that.

    Liked by 1 person

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