STYLE Savvy: Taking Time to Breathe



One evening a few weeks ago, I treated myself to a planning session, which morphed into a goal-setting session. So often, I just keep running — sometimes out of necessity and sometimes out of habit — and I forget that one of the best tools in the organizing and time management arsenal is simply taking time to plan.

It started out as a “reduce the physical clutter” session and quickly turned into a “reduce the mental clutter” event. I put away a bunch of little things that had collected on various surfaces, clearing off several spaces that should have been clear to begin with. When I sat down to sort out the papers I’d collected, I quickly discovered that they included a variety of to-do lists that needed to be consolidated.

It’s amazing how satisfying it is to consolidate old to-do lists. Almost always, several of the items (at least) have been completed, and so even when the lists are combined into a longer list, a sense of accomplishment prevails. And, when I’m in the frame of mind to do this sort of accounting of activities, it’s easy to split them up. Whether it’s by category (to do, to buy, to call) or assigning different tasks to different days, I always walk away feeling lighter.

Every time I do something like this, I wonder why I don’t remember to do it more often. Running from task to task checks things off our lists, but taking time to contemplate the lists gives us a chance to reconsider their contents and re-establish priorities.

When was the last time you took some time to plan? Or, are you a planner by nature, building planning into the schedule regularly? Share your ideas and successes in the comments below.

Copyright 2018 Lisa Hess


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.


    • Guilty of same. On both counts. (Yes, I have boundary issues. It’s easier to drop folding the laundry to attend to family members’ wants/needs than it is to drop work. And sometimes, family members can — and should — wait.)

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