Two weeks ago, the news broke that the College Board is changing the SAT, the test that nearly every high school junior and senior takes (and that decades of high school graduates remember with either rueful fondness or PTSD). Over at The High Calling, Marcus Goodyear considers productivity tips gleaned from the switch:
No one can tackle a mile of paperwork. No one can grade 1.4 million essays. And no one has to. As an AP reader, I didn’t even need to score 1000 essays. I only needed to score one. And one more. And one more. And one more. Each individual essay was easy, three to five pages long. Our scoring parameters were clear, so I knew what to do to meet the College Board’s expectations. If I didn’t lose my focus and take on more than the work of the present moment, I could continue to make small advancements toward the overall goal.
All work is the same. We shouldn’t expect epic meaning and purpose from every small task on our to-do lists. There is honor enough in one essay, one well-written email, one kind word. Similarly, we don’t need to be overwhelmed by a lifetime’s worth of goals—or even a whole week of goals. “Each day has enough trouble of its own,” Jesus said—as does each hour and each project and each task. Even Jesus focused on one task at a time, healing or eating or teaching before going to bed each night. Our brains can’t handle every task at once, and my brain doesn’t need to.