Dog Paddling in the Ocean...

September 28, 2012

That’s what I feel like I’m doing. Anyone else? Is it just me, or does life seem unaccountably, almost unbearably busy lately? I feel frantic! I have no down time between activities. I’m distracted—more so than normal. I shudder to think what the holidays will be like when I feel like this in September.

Since reading World Enough and Time, I’ve become more aware of time and my use of it, even going so far as to keep a time log a couple of weeks ago. Maybe it’s because I’m more aware that it seems like life has sped up?

From keeping the time log, I learned that I multi-task A LOT, and I do a lot of small tasks that add up to big chunks of time. I had to use a pen with an extra fine tip in order to fit all I did into the half hour boxes of the time log! Even if I was working out on the elliptical machine, I was also reading a magazine. If we had the TV on, I was cooking or cleaning the kitchen, balancing the checkbook or folding laundry. The only time I had large stretches of time doing one thing was when I went to the barn, and that’s because I didn’t record each individual thing I did while I was there.

No wonder I’m so tired by the end of the day. I really do cram a lot of little tasks into my days, often doing them one right after another. Since I can’t really point to any major accomplishment, except maybe keeping our lives running, I never get a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment from what I do. So many things I do “disappear”—they must be done again, and again (and again). They’re not even noticed by anyone unless I stop doing them.

Is this a problem? Maybe. If I’m running around filling my days with the little details, I never have to face my fears—the fear that I won’t have anything to say when I sit in front of a blank page, or the fear that if I stopped “doing,” my worth as a human being would plummet. I want to be a contributor in life, not just a taker, but the way in which I’m going about it now is not sustainable.

I don’t want to live like this anymore. I’m stepping back and calling a halt, starting with a day off tomorrow. I’m going to look at my current schedule and activities and ask:

*Does this need doing?
*Do I need to do it?
*Can it be done less frequently?
*Can someone help me with this so it will go quicker?

It’s a start. Maybe then I’ll be able to get my head above water.

Do you have any tips on controlling your schedule and commitments you can share?

You Might Also Like


  1. feelin you...get a hammock,,use it and no thoughts...when you have them say pece..practice you will get it!

  2. Interesting post...a thought that ran through my mind this morning is that I want to love my life. And parts of it I do. Other parts...not so much. Like all things, balance is needed along with recognition that balance is a very fluid and tensile element in our lives.

    Taking a day off is an excellent start. That was my plan this week until my whole universe was eclipsed by a house project.

    My biggest tip is learning to say no by learning to look at what you lose out on if you say yes. The world won't crash, your self worth won't dive (and may actually go up) and if it's really important, it will get done by SOMEONE. Maybe just not by you.

  3. Sharon--excellent suggestion. I don't have a hammock, but I have a pool and a water hammock. I could float around on that tomorrow!

  4. Laure--You make a great point about balance being fluid. I think that may be what I'm primarily feeling right now: things have become out of balance in my life to the point where I need to correct. The day off should provide some perspective.

  5. Sorry you're feeling overwhelmed right now. Taking a day off is an excellent idea. Then, as Laure said, you'll want to learn to say no.

  6. Thanks, Cheryl. Evidently, NO is going to have to become a much larger part of my vocabulary!

  7. Kathy, this is very interesting. I understand everything that you are saying, and you said it so well.

    Being "The Mom" comes with a lot of things that need to be done repeatedly, that is for sure. An example: now that we have no children around, I am not even obligated to cook dinner. Sometimes I cook three meals all at one time and then we just heat up what we feel like eating when we feel like eating.

    If you want to spend more time writing or whatever, maybe you can have somebody come into clean 2x month (doing the big stuff).

    I am sorry that you are feeling discouraged, but it sounds as if you are taking steps to enrich your life. Always remember to "adopt the attitude of gratitude" and be thankful for what is going right.


    Kathy M.

  8. Thanks for the encouragement, Kathy. I appreciate your kind words. It's good to hear that there is a time coming where my day-to-day duties will lessen! (And I believe that day is coming soon.) I'm also adjusting my schedule in several different ways, and I'm hopeful things will go more smoothly.