Ten Things That Won’t Matter In Ten Years’ Time – And Ten Things That Will

Image courtesy of Pawel Maciejewski

You’re stressed, overworked, and tired. You feel like you’re dropping the ball on so many things. You find yourself lying awake in the early hours, thinking about those items still on your to-do list, those emails not yet cleared.

One day, some little incident makes you blow up. For me, it was my printer malfunctioning and my stapler breaking in the middle of a very busy week, when I was trying to sort out some last-minute handouts for my post-grad classmates.

Have you ever heard the phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff”? There are so many things that we waste huge amounts of energy on (and worry is always wasted energy), which just won’t matter in a week, let alone ten years.

Here are ten examples of things you might be stressing about today that will not matter a jot in ten years’ time:

1. That embarrassing misspelling in the email you just sent
2. The jerk who cut you up on your way into work
3. How clean your kitchen is when your mother-in-law comes to visit
4. One of your kids acting up
5. A nasty email from a stranger
6. Missing a deadline
7. Losing out on a job interview to a better candidate
8. Slipping up on grocery shopping and offering your family a choice of cereal or sandwiches for dinner, one night
9. Making a small mistake in a report – and being called up on it by a client
10. Your library books being overdue

So what are you going to pour your energy into instead? There are a number of things you might want to concentrate on, including your family, your health and your dreams for the future. So these are ten things which will matter in ten years’ time. Some of them need to be done on a consistent, daily basis for you to really see effects:

1. Writing down your goals
2. Working at the times of day when you’re most productive and energetic
3. Telling your kids and partner that you love them
4. Eating plenty of fruit and veggies
5. Going for a half-hour walk – sunshine, fresh air and exercise!
6. Getting up early to work on something that really matters to you
7. Painting a watercolour, writing a poem, or knitting a jumper
8. Doing something unexpected (but that you know will be welcomed) for your partner
9. Spending time learning and practising a new skill
10. Taking time for yourself, to think, pray or meditate

The things on this second list are the ones that will really matter, long term. Instead of worrying over some little mistake at work or in your home life, think about your actions that build up to a bigger picture. Did you get any exercise today? Did you take the time to prepare healthy, tasty meals? Did you work on anything that you felt truly fired-up and inspired about?

Focus your attention on the things that will matter in ten years – not the tiny ups and downs of your day that you’ll have forgotten about in a week or two.

After all, what would you rather look back on in 2019 – ten years of a stressing over a clear email inbox and a tidy house, or ten years when you made huge strides towards accomplishing your goals?

If you’ve got any of your own “won’t matter” and “will matter” tasks to add to the lists, let us know them in the comments.

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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