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  • The problem is, the most important things are hardly ever urgent.

    When was the last time you woke up and said to yourself, "I urgently have to work out today"? You don't urgently have to work out; you have to skip your workout because you have urgent things to do. When was the last time you said to your assistant, "Cancel all my meetings. I urgently need to read a good book that will fuel my mind, expand my vision of myself and the world, and intellectually stimulate me"? When was the last time you thought, "What I really need to do urgently today is go down to Wild Oats and get myself some fresh organic fruits and vegetables and make myself a truly great meal that will genuinely fuel and energize my body"? You don't urgently need to eat a good meal; you urgently need to go to the drive-through.

    The most important things are hardly ever urgent.

    In each of the four areas of life (physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual) we know what is most important, but we tell ourselves that we will attend to those matters later, when we have finished with the urgent things. "I'll do it when I get caught up!" we tell others and ourselves. This might not be so much of a problem if we did actually do the most important things when we got caught up. But we don't. Not because we don't want to, but because we never get caught up. Seriously, when was the last time you sat down and you said to yourself, "I'm caught up now!"

    It doesn't happen. Your to-do list just gets longer and longer every day. You never get caught up; you just get more and more behind every day. Some days you feel as if your life has a momentum of its own, as if it would go on with or without you. "Caught up?" Who are we kidding?

    Because the most important things are hardly ever urgent, that is why we have to place them at the center of our lives. We have to put them on our schedules, because if we don't we simply won't get around to them. "Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least" was Goethe's advice.

    We have to make carefree timelessness a priority.

    The experts at carefree timelessness are, of course, teenagers.

    Carefree timelessness. It is the reason young people fall in love so easily. The lack of carefree timelessness is the reason the rest of us fall out of love so easily. Carefree timelessness causes us to fall in love with life and others, and it will help you move your relationships beyond the first level of intimacy.

    The question is: How do we go about it?

    Whether you decide you need some carefree timelessness with your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your children or parents, or your friends and colleagues, there are a thousand ways to create it.

    The first thing you need to do is schedule it. Now I hear that objection in the back of your mind. You are thinking, if I have to schedule it then it's not carefree timelessness. Not so. Think back to our definition of carefree timelessness, as time spent together without an agenda. I didn't say that it is unscheduled and will happen all on its own. We know it won't. We have to schedule it, but we don't need an agenda.

    Let me give you an example of carefree timelessness. If you said to your wife, "Let's plan to spend Friday afternoon together next week, and we will just decide what we want to do when it comes around." That's time together, with no agenda: carefree timelessness.

    On the other hand, suppose you said to your wife, "Let's plan to spend Friday afternoon together next week, and we can stop by the store and buy that new television, return those trousers you bought me that didn't fit, have lunch, pick up the kids, and then come home and finish raking those leaves." It is certainly time together, but it also sounds anything but carefree.

    Do you need some carefree timelessness with your significant other?

    There are a thousand ways to spend your carefree timelessness. Nobody needs help with that; you schedule the time together, and when the time arrives you simply turn to each other and ask, "What would you like to do?"

    If you have the drive and discipline to make carefree timelessness a habit in your primary relationship, you will be stunned and amazed by how powerfully it changes your life together. Make it a habit.

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