That’s right. Cat food. I have to deal with cat food. You do, too. We all do. Freakin’ cat food… and I don’t even have a cat…
Cat food is the mundane. Cat food is the every day task. Cat food is the unavoidable. Much like literal cat food, if you don’t continue to do (…buy? sell? feed your cat? feed yourself? trade on the hot and emerging cat food commodities market?) cat food, something important ceases to work. Cat food is important at the lowest level, the opposite of which are activities towards fulfilling your purpose: important at the highest level. So, while moving along your life vector is important, so is cat food, and sometimes cat food comes first.
David Allen did a Google Tech Talk five years ago: GTD and the Two Keys to Sustaining a Healthy Life and Workstyle. Of ‘Getting Things Done‘ fame, he talks about two aspects of self-management: control and perspective. Getting control is mastering workflow, where you spend time collecting, then processing, organizing, reviewing, and doing. Getting perspective works with horizons of focus, from 50,000 feet, or your purpose and principles, to ground level, or the next actions; it is here where he says we should start, and not with a vision. You have to get deck-clearing capability first before being able to think at the high level.
Now that I think about it… this is what I did almost two years ago, when I first moved to my current place, where I started what ended up being a first version of ScrumOfOne. When at a complete loss of what to do next, when I had to clear my at least mental deck, I stepped through the following list first:
Eat food. Shop for food. Pay bills. Tidy up kitchen. Tidy up room. Do laundry. Iron.
Yeah. Ironing. (And that’s all I’ll say about that.)
Much as I like the idea of dealing with cat food before focusing on vision, I’d treat chronic pains the same way, where this includes items that are annoying, always there, and are general, glaring impediments to happiness. Sure, you can work on your purpose, but if you’re struggling with food, clothing, and shelter, and you’re concerned, then this’ll sit like a gremlin at the forefront of your brain and not let you freely pursue your heart song (ooh, I like that metaphor). You don’t need to totally rid yourself of this gremlin before starting down your happy path, but it does help to have a plan.