I spent the whole week worried that I couldn’t think of what to write about.
And then this happened:
getting more lightheaded. Wendy called and we decided I needed to get checked out. So I squeezed out just two more hours of work and then drove myself to the doctor’s office.
When they took the ECG, it was immediately clear that I was in atrial fibrillation with a heart rate double my normal rate. I had to get a ride to the emergency room and get hooked up to all the monitors and lines. I got some fluids and some medications. Fortunately, I “converted” a few hours later and didn’t need to get my chest shocked to fix the irregular rhythm.
In retrospect, this was a minor event. I do have a lot of follow up to do with cardiology, but it looks like my problem has less to do with my atrocious family history of heart disease and more to do with my ridiculous lifestyle.
I work all day every day. I never turn off my phone. I’ve stopped exercising. I’ve gained back the weight I lost. I don’t have any hobbies. I travel 3-5 days every week. I never spend time with my family. And I drink at least 1000 mg of caffeine a day to keep up the pace.
While I was in the Emergency Department, my LDS Bishop from our old congregation (before we moved) came in to visit me. We visited for a long time about work and life. He also works for a big company in a high stress job, also supports a large region, and also travels heavily. He had a lot of smart insight and could empathize with my plight.
Before he left, he offered to give me a blessing. I expected that he’d bless me to make a physical recovery. Instead, he put his hands on my head and blessed me to be a better father and a smarter professional. He blessed me to prioritize my family more, to manage my time better, to delegate more, and to work more intelligently and efficiently.
As I received the blessing, I was struck by an awareness of my own busyness and the many inefficiencies of my work. I have fallen into a trap of working harder instead of smarter. I care so very much about what I do and the people I serve. So I’ve ended up stretching myself thin to try to prove to them and to myself that I’m working as hard as I possibly can. I’m subtly making my job harder than it needs to be and working less efficiently so that it really feels like I’m paying my dues.
I’m reminded of an old Harvard Business Review article called "Beware the Busy Manager!"
Even more, I was reminded of Dieter Uchtdorf’s reflection:
Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even
wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself,
was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life?
I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life
among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him
bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things
I can’t see it.
Instead, I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully
living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt
important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people he met.
He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them.
He gave them the precious gift of His time.
I became a nurse so that I could help people. And I went into leadership to help even more people and help them in meaningful ways. But lately I’m too “busy” to help anyone. I don’t really help the people close to me, and I don’t even end up helping the people I’m really trying to help.
So I’m eager to fix this! I don’t totally know how. But I have some basic ideas. And I’m already making some adjustments. No more monster drinks! I cut out some travel this week. And I went on a daddy-daughter date last night.
I’d love to hear other people’s ideas. What are you doing to manage your time and honor priorities?