It’s complicated; it’s not.

These days a lot of us live complicated lives; we put a lot on the to-do plate.

Currently at the nonprofit I lead I am overseeing a fund drive for the construction of a courtyard, leading a water saving measure that taps into a California State trust fund, managing an electricity-saving project that exchanges the fluorescent at our site for LED lighting. In addition, our nonprofit recently rolled out a name change, managing all the politics, costs and relational subtleties that required.

Besides that there is my speaking schedule, my meeting schedule, the overseeing of staff and the overseeing of myself. In addition there is the good, the relational, the everyday personal, the loving of my sweet wife, the relating to my adorable daughters, the cats, the bills, the vacuuming and the toilets — they need to be cleaned.

How to stay sane? That is the question, especially smack in the middle of the visionary-mundane, the unfinished, uncertain and unexpected.

A couple of ideas come to mind.

Compartmentalize the projects. Work on something, then leave it, completely — out of sight out of mind — and don’t let it eat at you until you block out a time to work on it again.

Create processes and timelines that are realistic. Decide: these are the steps we must take, these are the processes we will use, this is a realistic time frame in which to accomplish this objective — then add three months to that.

Ask for help. To live a complicated life, to be a high-energy person, to be a high-output person — this requires comrades, friends, teams, a group of leaders and collaboration. Nothing great ever gets accomplished alone.

These approaches aren’t clean, perfect, categorical solutions to the challenges of a complicated life.

Of course we can’t forget that snarly problem and of course the solution will come to us in the shower. Of course we won’t anticipate all the obstacles. and of course our timeline and processes will need revisions. And of course we will sometime do something we should have asked someone else to do.

But to live well while accomplishing a lot, to keep from dying of stress in a high-stress lifestyle, do these things: Create boundaries, lay plans, don’t go it alone.

It’s not that complicated.

  1. Kathy Knapp says:

    This reminds me of some of the talks we had. I struggle, I struggle a lot. Reading this I’m reminded that I need to compartmentalize more, work on what needs to be done and realize that I can set things aside and not worry so much about it all. I worry a lot! I miss the talks we used to have.

    I think of you and your family and the blessing it was to know you. I hope you are doing well. God bless you my friend.

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