NO this is not about cars at all, I’m using the term parking to mean all those things we either need to do or want to do but somehow we ‘park’ them to do at another time.
We all do it and while there is nothing wrong with it as such, in fact sometimes it is essential, it can become such a way of life. That it stops us either enjoying the here and now OR not living the lives we want. When ’parking’ things becomes a way of life it can cause two types of problems so let’s look at those and then look at ways of doing things differently.
Not doing the things that need to be done.
We all have things we need to do that we don’t like, whether its things like doing the accounts, or paying bills, clearing out the wardrobe or doing the garden, catching up on emails or replying to letters. Of course out of the whole long list of things we need to do to keep life running smoothly the ones we ‘park’ are usually the ones we don’t like. We often consciously park them telling ourselves we’ll do them later but somehow we never quite find the time.
There are two consequences to this, the first is that things don’t always remain static so parking some of them means that they can cause more problems, not paying things on time or leaving the garden till it’s a jungle for example. So by parking them they become even worse so you put them off longer, and then they get worse and before you know where you are you end up in a downward spiral.
The other consequence is that while you might have parked them you do still actually know you have to do them and that can cause a background level of stress that keeps on increasing.
Tips to Try
Consider the things you definitely park every time – then ask yourself why? Is it that you just don’t like it? Or is it that you don’t like it because it’s not something you feel you can do. It is worth thinking about getting help with some things, maybe paying for an accountant or asking someone to help with the gardening.
Instead of telling yourself you don’t have time try thinking about times when you DO have a few minutes to spare or check you diary for times you could have time and schedule some time to do those things. Arrange to do those things you hate and actually diary them in. View it like an appointment and then maybe give yourself a treat afterwards.
If you feel tempted to park it again remind yourself that those background stresses of things not done, which are usually subconscious can detract from other things you are doing, and are a bit like a weight you carry around.
Not doing things you want to do
This is slightly different but if you want to do something whether it is something small like reading a particular book or catching up with a friend or something bigger like taking a course or learning a particular skill, not doing those things will still have consequences.
Over time it can cause immense frustration that you aren’t actually doing the things you want to and it might also be that you start to feel resentful that what you want to do is not actually getting done. The other consequence is that time is passing and not doing some of the things you want might mean you don’t feel fulfilled and possibly aren’t living to your full potential or being as happy as you might be.
Tips to try
In many ways there will never be a right time or a time when you have lots of ‘free’ time. So really you need to decide what is important. Sometimes it is worth writing down a few things that you want to do and give yourself a time scale. Instead of thinking you want to travel the world pick one place and actually book to visit it. If you can’t afford it think about either ways of doing it cheaply or ways to save money to spend on this if it is something you really want. Maybe add up what you spend of coffees or lunches in a week and change how you choose to spend what might be scarce financial resources.
If you are worried that doing some of the things you want to do will upset others that needs addressing. While I am not advocating becoming a selfish person who never considers the needs of others it is still important to acknowledge that we all only have one life and it is up to us to make the choices that will allow us to be happy. Many people consider others far too much but it is important to acknowledge that our own needs and wishes are important as well. Try asking yourself the question ‘if not now, when?’