This summer, I’m using some of our favorite games to talk about related topics. If you missed my first week of this summer blog series about Ticket to Ride, check it out here. And to make things more fun, I’d love if you’d tag me in photos of your family game nights. For every picture, your family will be entered in a drawing for a “family game night” themed basket. We’ll be doing a drawing at the end of the summer. And don’t forget, you get two entries if you’re playing one of the games I’ve featured in this series.
Our game for the week is Rack-O. This nostalgic game from 1956 is a big hit in our house. Each player uses a rack which holds ten cards and the object is to use the draw and discard pile to switch out cards until the cards in your rack are situated lowest to highest. It’s a game for up to four players and each round is quick, so you can choose the length of the game.
Playing this game always makes me think about putting first things first. Remember that line in Harry Potter where Hermione says, “Now, if you two don’t mind, I’m going to bed before either of you come up with another clever idea to get us killed or worse…expelled.” Then Ron says, “She need to sort out her priorities.” I often think about this line when I’m feeling out of sorts. Use whatever image works for you. Maybe it’s the classic jar of sand that won’t allow for the addition of rocks, but when you put the rocks in first, the sand falls into the small spaces and fits in the jar just fine. Or maybe it looks like a Rack-O rack with the numbers in all the wrong order. But we feel out of sorts when we haven’t sorted out our priorities.
Have you ever had a day (or 20) where you feel anxious but you can’t put your finger on the cause? You flit around from task to task mindlessly and never really complete any of them?
I wish I had a name for that, but it’s like I’m too distracted to make any real progress. In times like these, I find it helpful to make a list of what needs to be completed. I then put the items on that list in three categories: urgent, important, and helpful.
The urgent items go first. They may not all be emergencies like, “Put out the fire in the kitchen,” -though if that’s on your task list, I’d mark it urgent. This category will be different for everyone. For me, time studying the Bible is always in the urgent category because I find it sets me up for the rest of the day. Other things in the urgent category are are tasks that must be completed before you can to others or maybe it’s something that’s hanging over your head that’s keeping you from focusing on other things. Mark Twain said, “If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning.” Eating a frog should be on the urgent list.
The second category is “important”. They may not be as time sensitive, but they still need to be completed. I’ve found that once I’ve worked through the first category, the second is a layup. I glide through these tasks because I know the last set of tasks will be easier still.
Usually, for me, these tasks use the least brain capacity. They tend to be things I can do while listening to a podcast or an audiobook. And, if I don’t get around to the “helpful” things on my list, they can be done another time. It’s okay because they’re not the most urgent. However, if I’m procrastinating, I’ll spend all my time tinkering with one of these tasks and find I’ve accomplished very little at the end of the day.
Just like Rack-O, we win when we put first things first. Prioritizing is crucial in a world filled with busyness. Often, when we spend time prioritizing, we find some of our most time-consuming tasks are things we don’t really need to do after all. Maybe they add little value or don’t really have a purpose. Remember, just because you’ve always done it doesn’t mean it still serves a purpose. And life is too short not to prioritize. Listen to Ron Weasley’s advise -though he rarely give the best advice. In this case, he does.
I hope your week is more productive because you choose to prioritize properly. Who knows? Maybe with all that extra time you can have a game night with your family. Rack-O anyone?