Hi, Hello and Assalamualaikum! I’m Aina and welcome to ‘Life Without A Rubric’!

Unfortunately, last week I did something I told myself I would try to avoid.

I missed a weekly blog post.


Let me tell you why.

It was due to…

 a reassessment of my priorities.

          I see my priorities as key tasks and actions I have to do in order to serve a better life. The way I check if something is a priority is to ask the question: does it add onto an extrinsic or intrinsic goal that I have? If it’s a ‘yes’, then it’s a priority. If it’s a ‘no’, then it’s meant for a time allocated to doing whatever I want or it’s something I shouldn’t be doing full stop. To categorise further, if it’s contributing to a short term goal then it’s a high order priority while long term goals tend to become low order priorities but need consistency. I aim to integrate my priorities with my daily routine because I believe it’s the small changes that desired grand result.

          I have many things I want to get done during a day. Currently, I try to set myself a to-do list either the night before or the morning of my day. Inspired by the podcast ‘Hustle Sanely’, I always have my ‘Focus Three’, my three compulsory to-do’s. If I get nothing else done, it’s fine as long as I’ve done those three. It helps in preventing overwhelm, I can have a full list of to-do’s in front of me but the rest feels more like a choice. Keyword being ‘feels’. To boil it down even further, I mentally label my to-do’s under ‘requires a lot of energy’, ‘requires little energy’, ‘requires attention’ and ‘requires time’. 

          As much as I would love to be capable of achieving all my to-do’s, I’m only human. I procrastinate, I take naps and I have to do what my parents ask of me. There was a time where I would severely criticise and scold myself, internalising the fact that I was incapable of finishing everything I set out to do that day. I never really questioned why, I never gave myself reasons or excuses, I just deemed myself incompetent with managing life. It was a source of bubbling frustration and anger that I didn’t express and would often end up releasing verbally in an unhealthy manner. Now I’ve given myself more space to make mistakes and fail. When I can’t do all my to-do’s, I reassure myself that I’m human and I always have time tomorrow. I then try and reflect on why I didn’t do it. Thus, if it was mere procrastination, I just have to sit down and get to it next time. Whereas, if it was because I needed to break it down into smaller and manageable steps or needed a certain resource I didn’t realise I needed beforehand, at least I know what needs to be done the when I tackle the task again. At the end of the day, I consciously accept that I have to give in to an unfinished to-do list because I know that the unpredictable, undesirable and uncontrollable tends to occur. For example, I have to wash the dishes after meals and there’s a lot to wash on that particular day. When a goal of mine is to sleep earlier my priority is to be in bed by 11:00 which means that if I have leftover to-do’s I meant to do instead of washing dishes by the end of the day, I have to let them go in order to fulfil my higher-order aim.

          So as I mentioned to you, I missed my last blog post. In the previous week, I found myself gifted a new set of priorities dedicated to a new goal:

Adopting kittens.

         Long story short, we found two kittens we adored on Saturday night and the following Saturday noon they were going to arrive. I had to sit down on Monday morning and write down everything I had to do from buying supplies to doing research. I especially noted down that I had to thoroughly clean my room. It was a bit of a rush but I tried not to overwhelm myself. I assigned each day of the week with a category of tasks I needed to do to prevent my brain from telling me that I forgot something or from going overboard and doing more than I was mentally capable of. At this point in time, not only was I trying to fix my odd sleeping times but I was also getting ready for this adoption  which took up the majority of my time. Time that I would have otherwise used for a set of regular to-do’s. Thus, I realised in order for this big new yes, I had to let in a few no’s.

Meet my new priorities.

          When it comes to priorities, I feel that the more you want the change it brings, the more important it becomes to you. No excuses, easy distractions or even neverending procrastination could draw you away from doing it. I always find myself remembering the saying ‘if it is important to you, you will find a way’ and it’s something I’m trying to properly align myself with.’ This blog means a lot to me and I keep telling myself I should’ve fit in time to write, I should’ve stuck to my deadline and I could’ve pushed through even though the adoption was going on but instead of scolding myself on all the should’s and could’s, I remind myself that I can learn from this. I will discover my optimal way of managing time. I will use this to reflect on how to become better. Seeing this shortcoming just tells me that maybe my current system of to-do lists isn’t my right way or that I need to amend it. 

          I believe it’s important to know your priorities and reflect on why they’re your priorities. By finding your intentions, there is a sense of purpose that you begin to instil within yourself. That’s what I’ve discovered. I have found it really helpful for learning more about myself, the values I hold and who I want to become. For me, it helps me align with my better future self. I may not be her yet but there’s a sense of comfort I receive from knowing that I’m working towards her now.

          And on that note, I shall leave you with the words of the late author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’, Stephen Covey: 

“The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”

Music Recommendations:

  1. ‘Feeling Whitney’ by Post Malone is a song I discovered on TikTok. Out of context, the lyrics used were ‘you don’t need a friend, boy you’re the man’ in a trend that reflects on how you’ve achieved what your past self only dreamed of. The depth of this song is beyond what I could summarise so if you would like to take a read on how this song ties into drug addiction and toxic masculinity click here. What really drew me to this song was the simple guitar acoustics and the sentimental tone that this song has accompanied by his vocals that inspired me to listen through his discography. 
  2. ‘Stop’ by Anthony Ramos is a pop song with a really catchy beat and chorus. This song had been in the works prior quarantine, the singer had simply been discussing how people don’t stop to appreciate life in the general sense. Then with the world literally forced to stop, Ramos wrote this song with a perspective from during a pandemic lockdown. This song, unlike some of the COVID songs I’ve highlighted/heard, has a more positive outlook and beckons the listener to stop and appreciate life as it is.
  3. ‘Wishlist’ by Tomorrow By Together is one of my favourite songs from the album. It has a really unexpected buildup from the beginning to the end of the song. I like how the layers of the backup vocals and the guitar backing make this song so full. It’s a song about finding the perfect gift for that special someone and I honestly love the way this song is structured as a whole plus the lyrics are really cute. An added bonus is that three of the group members participated in the writing the lyrics.

Aina’s Monthly Playlist

Currently Reading: Pacific Rim Uprising: The Official Movie Prequel (Ascension)

Life Status: I have two fur babies!!!

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