All of us are very busy. We have consuming jobs, families, businesses to manage and errands to run. If you are in the process of simultaneously working full-time as an employee and building a business on the side, your time pressures are even more extreme.
This is no excuse for letting certain things slide.
I called my best friend Desiree today (Tuesday) to catch up on the latest from her corner of Americus, Georgia. And during the course of our conversation, she let it slip that her birthday was on Sunday. Yeah, the Sunday as in two days ago, the one that I, her best friend, forgot. Despite the fact that we had chatted about it on the phone last Thursday.
After apologizing profusely, I couldn’t shake the very crappy feeling I had for letting the details of my life overtake that which I hold most dear. It got me thinking:
There are certain things you should never let slide such as:
- The birthdays of your spouse and kids
- The birthdays of your parents
- The birthdays of your grandparents
- The birthdays of your siblings
- The birthday of your best friend
- Your wedding anniversary (if married)
- Uttering (with real feeling) the words “I love you” to your spouse and kids each day
I don’t say this to guilt trip anyone, for guilt is highly overrated and generally leads to misery, not action. I say it so that you make sure to do the following things:
- Create your own list of “I must remember these dates.” Don’t make it too big — no one cares if you don’t send a Saint Patrick’s day or Halloween card.
- Examine each item, and decide what action you want to take on each. For some, it may be just a phone call. For others, it is buying and shipping a gift or setting aside a whole day to spend time together.
- Place each item with the corresponding time required in your calendar. So if your brother lives across country and you want to send a gift as well as call, put one date for “ship present to bro” and another (on the birthday itself) for “call bro and wish happy b-day.” If you are really into organizing, schedule time to shop for and buy the gift as well.
- Get a system of accountability in place to make sure you complete the task. Sometimes calendaring the item isn’t enough. You may need to send a post-dated email to yourself to remind you. Or have your assistant (if you have one) put it in his/her tickler system for you. Or put a huge post-it note on your bathroom window. Whatever it takes for you personally to get it done.
Human relationships are fragile. I have learned this the hard way by being “too busy” and letting some precious friendships slip through my fingers.
Desiree and I have been through a lot together in our 22+ years of friendship, so I know this is not a deal-breaker. It will not stop us from cackling with no teeth in our rocking chairs when we are 92. But I do know that it has motivated me to step up and take action so that it doesn’t happen again.
Learn from my mistake — get your “important” list done today.