It’s Crunch Time in Beantown. Every project and job I am involved in is coming to a head at the same time and I am trying to get ready for the holidays as well. I think of myself as a little bit of a procrastinator, but I am working hard to overcome this tendency. The current set of circumstances leaves me with little wiggle room so I have to make the most of every moment. 30 minutes between meetings? There’s time to run to the library or the drugstore. Insomnia causing me to wake up at 3 a.m. when the alarm is set for 6? There’s the time to start writing those reports (or a blog post).
All of this makes me think about how I use my time. Am I using it wisely? Am I over-committing and having trouble with that little word “no”? Is this extreme busy-ness a chronic condition or a time-limited situation? Am I carving out time for self-care in the midst of all this? The stress of this time is alleviated by remembering that I CHOSE to do all of these things, none of them were forced on me. I don’t feel obligated to do these things, I WANT to do these things. These are all either short-term projects or just a busy time in usually manageable jobs. I take breaks when I can, try to remember to breathe, check in with friends, go to bed at a reasonable hour and stop to eat once in a while. I constantly say to myself “You LIKE this! You THRIVE on this!”
My biggest tool in managing all that needs to be done is making lists. Lots of lists. I have jumped from Post-It notes to a legal pad. There is a page for every project with deadlines and specific tasks. It’s not enough to put vague items on your to-do list. The tasks have to be broken down into every step and then you map out when you are going to do the steps. There is a heading for each day and every single thing I need to do that day is listed. Every single task I have banging around in my head makes it on the list, even something as mundane as looking up something on the internet. If it is going to help me make progress, it goes on the list. This has the added benefit of giving you more things to cross off the list as you go along! Once something is down on paper, I give myself permission not to worry anymore about getting it done. It is on The List. It Will Happen.
So is there light at the end of this tunnel? Why, yes there is. I am going on a trip for the holidays and will be visiting my darling niece. I have a truckload of presents for her and can’t wait to sing and dance and paint and play the day away with her. My calendar is jam-packed for the rest of this week and then wide open for 7 whole days. Once I get back, it will be time to prep for the spring semester, work on a project for church, start my manuscript………………I think you see where I am going with this!!!!!