I don’t think I’ve had a single conversation in the past 6 months that didn’t start with “I’m sorry.” Sorry for what? Oh, you name it. I’m sorry I…
didn’t text/call/email/facebook/tweet you back
missed your birthday/anniversary/party/miscellaneous event
haven’t seen you in ages
am still working on your pictures
never blogged about my lunch
never blogged about your engagement
hit your vehicle
parked on the wrong side of the road
went 20 miles over the speed limit
am behind the wheel in general
forgot your name…again
am a mildly lame employee
made a (bunch of) stupid mistakes
didn’t do the reading for book study
missed book study altogether
was mean/rude/indifferent due to sleep deprivation
was mean/rude/indifferent just because
cancelled our plans
never made plans in the first place
look like I haven’t showered in the recent past
haven’t showered in the recent past
am altogether not together
OH…the insanity! While apologizing does come naturally to me and I (too) often do it without just cause, there has been plenty of just cause lately. Like…loads of it. I actually should be apologizing for the things I’m apologizing for. But I don’t know how to make it better. I’m the least amount of busy as possible for this juncture in life.
On Mondays I don’t work until 2pm. I thought that this pre-work time would be one of respite, productivity, gearing up for the week ahead. But it is in fact none of those things. It is in fact an 8 hour panic attack, in which I try to cram as much activity as possible, because I know that as soon as 2pm hits, I’m a goner for the rest of the week. There’s no free time in sight until Sunday. Last Monday I made a to-do list for the morning over breakfast. I felt that 34 items might be a bit overkill, so I stopped at 33.
Clearly, something needs to change.
And some things are. Here are the changes I’ve been putting into action to help me avoid an ulcer:
1 – I’m fully utilizing Google Calendar. By scheduling the regular to-do items that pile up if left unattended (weekly emails that need to be written, blog maintenance, cleaning, bills, workouts, etc) I can get them done throughout the week instead of continuing to list them on every day’s to-do list…and then leaving them at the bottom, undone for another day.
2 – I’m instituting a 5 item MAX daily to-do list. Every day, I’ll have a top five list of items that need to get done and can be reasonably accomplished within the confines of the day. For example, I wouldn’t put “overhaul blog typography” on a day when I’m working at breathe and working a wedding. There is realistically no time for that particular task on a day like that.I’m hoping that focusing on the five most important items to accomplish in a day leads to more productivity and less overwhelming panic at not knowing where to start or how it will all get done. Five is a compromise. I wanted to do a daily top ten, but I realized that realistically, it was still too much. So five it is. Better to get five things done than bits and pieces of ten or twenty things.
3 – I’m literally working seven days a week right now. I work Monday – Saturday at three real jobs, and in any spare time I can muster I’m working on photo editing or the blog. Neither photography nor blogging are “real” jobs yet, but I am hoping to turn them both into side jobs in the future. So any work that I can put into them is good work. And while it’s fun, it’s also work. Some time off is necessary. So I’m making a 1 hour/1 day/per month rule.
1 hour: I need to spend an hour a day doing something that is not work. It would be great if this hour could be spent away from my computer, since we’ve been BFF’s lately. It can be morning devotional time, workouts, flipping through magazines, anything – just an hour away from work.
1 day: I need to spend one day a month entirely NOT working. I haven’t spent much time at all traveling lately, even locally, so I’d really like to get out of my apartment once a month to explore a new place. Or even stay in my apartment and tackle some home improvement projects to make my nest a little nestier. Or, you know, watch an entire movie without doing 8 other things at the same time.
4 – PRAY. Oh, Lord, does this child ever need some heavy-hitting power of prayer in her life. I literally can’t do everything that I’d like to do in each day. But I’m trying…and that’s probably why I’m doing little segments of a thousand different things and never actually accomplishing much, except for continually decreasing how much I sleep every night. I also tend to decrease how much time I spend with the Lord when I get busy, which is antithetical to the cause. I know it’s the most important part of the equation (that equation being life) and yet I continually try to short-change my God time in favor of working on a few more to-do items. So I’m going to start praying about these things that make my eyes bulge and stomach churn with questions of how in the world it will ever get done. Specifically, I’m praying these verses from Matthew 6:
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
The answer is right there, staring at me plain in the face from verse 33: “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Seek first, not when there’s leftover time. Seek first, and all of the other things will fall into place.
I honestly believe that all of the things I’m doing right now are just what God would have me do. I believe that he’s put them into my life for a reason. So I really don’t want to throw anything overboard, like I did in August, I just want a better way to manage the inventory.
Will these new guidelines help alleviate some stress in this superbly crazy era of life? Will I be able to catch up so that I can start sentences with something other than an apology? Probably not 100%. But I think it’s better to try and make the craziness more effective and liveable than to just live in it and continue to have a respectable breakdown at the end of every week.
Busy people: help a sister out. I’m clearly not the only busy person on the planet, or even close to the busiest. So how do you do it? Do you have any suggestions or resources or words of wisdom? Please pass them along if so! My sanity would be so grateful.