“It is essential for you to remember that the attention you give to any action should be in due proportion to its worth, for then you won’t tire and give up, if you aren’t busying yourself with lesser things beyond what should be allowed.”MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 4.32b
Small tasks should stay small tasks, and not gain out-sized importance by receiving too much focus from us. That’s the focus of today’s quote in The Daily Stoic.
The book’s author Ryan Holiday reminds us that time is “the most valuable and least renewable of all [our] resources”, and that we shouldn’t waste it on things that don’t matter or are relatively unimportant compared to all the other things in our lives.
If we do busy ourselves too much with unimportant things, well… then they cease to be trivial, and effectively become more important than they should be. Which leaves us less time for the truly critical things — things like family, relationships, and goals which have now been tragically robbed of their importance, and have been deprioritized by default.
In summary, keep the small potatoes small, as they should be. Otherwise your priorities and duties will get out of whack, and you’ll lose focus on what matters.
Side note: as I go through my day, I’m tempted to add more things to my to-do list which I built at the beginning of the day. Sometimes I add these new to-dos to my list, but sometimes I realize that I shouldn’t. Why not? Because I already prioritized my day, when I woke up. Adding new tasks ad hoc at a later time just runs the risk of me focusing on those little, unimportant things — instead of the more important (and perhaps less appealing) things that I originally prioritized for myself, and that I really should focus on.