I had a conversation with a colleague yesterday about how we all end up doing so much — to the point of are we doing too much?
We probably are, and I am definitely one that falls into that camp. I like to help, I like to solve problems, I like to make things happen. Sometimes when you have your hands in too many pots, what suffers most is your own personal life. I mentioned how I love the weekends because somehow I feel like a person again. It is my time to recharge, refresh, and relook at the world in new ways. Yet, I wonder if I really should be doing that every day? My first inclination is to say: “Who has the time?” Partly that is true, and partly it is about making the time.
One of the ways that I do that is in the morning. I am not a morning person. I would rather drag out starting my day in more ways than one. I usually leave for work two hours after I get up in the morning. Unless of course I have an early meeting in which I either have to get up crazy early, or I have to give up my me time. I like to slowly get out of bed (you know, have the alarm go off a zillion times and hit snooze each time) rather than wake up by immediately taking a shower. Chris (the amazing husband that he is) makes our morning green smoothie while I shower, then I take my time drinking it while catching up on personal emails, articles, and maybe a dabbling of Facebook. That quiet time can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, and I generally push it as long as I can. It is my “me” time.
Eventually he drops hints that it is time for me to get ready for work. I do, but often want to just finish that next thing or to hold those last few moments for me before I give myself over to a day of back-to-back meetings often without even time for lunch. When I get home, if I am not incredibly wiped out, my hope is that I get one more hour back to me for my run and to catch up on the book that I am reading. Then dinner, catch up on more work, and finally some blogging. Not much time in the day for much else.
Chris and I had the conversation over the weekend — if I was going to cut something out, what would it be? A tough decision. I want to do it all. I want to love it all. I want more hours in the day. Since that is not possible it often means less sleep, which is also not always the best answer.
What do you do when you are doing too much and you either do not want to edit or you do not know where to edit?
I have had one of those weeks where I feel I am doing too much. I feel like an airplane that lands at the airport, goes to the gate, yet has trouble making contact with the actual gate opening (you have probably been in a plane that goes back and forth to make sure it is at the right opening of the gate), then gets ready to take off for the next trip without proper rest, full refueling, emptying the lavatory, and replenishing the snacks. Do you get the picture in your head of my life? Often I find that my life is all about being air traffic control.
I am sure a lot of individuals feel that way when they go between managing their personal and professional lives. There are a few things that make it hard for me to function. No run, too much sugar, and not enough good “fuel” food. You know veggies, thick, luscious, leafy greens. Too me without filling my body with “premium gas” I sputter, am slower, and cannot complete what I need to do in the way that I want. Just like a car or airplane that has a less smooth ride. We cannot skimp on what makes us function.
I have had quite a few conversations recently that have revolved around “doing too much.” Each conversation mentioned the effects on health, happiness, and emotions. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I sometimes feel like I am the hamster in the wheel, spinning and spinning wondering when this tilt-a-whirl of life will ever slow down. I know I am the only one that can truly jump out, jump off, and create the change in my world, but it is so much easier said then done. If I walk away at the end of the day, and there is so much left to do, it is hard for my brain to stop working and not think about it all.
So I wonder. How do you do it? How does your friend, your sister, or your husband compartmentalize their world to move between the very grey and blurred lines of work and home life? When you always feel like the water is deep and there are so many things happening around you, how do you keep up, when you are just tired of treading water? My gut says it is time for a massive mind shift, a new way of working, a new way of approaching the world. Better boundaries. Clearer parameters. And…maybe a little bit of “No.”
In a recent work meeting, someone used the analogy of “changing the tires on a car while still moving” and juxtaposing it with doing too much at once. My ears were perked up during the conversation of doing too much, and seeing an image of men crawling out of a jeep while it is on two wheels AND moving, AND changing both tires that are in the air. Crazy you might say? Definitely. Take a moment to watch:
Did you watch the entire clip? How do they do it? I mean first, how do they even drive like that, and then to change a tire on a moving vehicle, really? To do it all at once and not kill someone is entirely something else. It made me think: how often in life am I trying to drive on two wheels, change a tire, and not get killed? Do you ever talk on the phone in the car (hands free of course) and look down to check something, while also driving fast? We all probably do something maybe not so skillful as changing tires, but the moral is the same. I am the first to admit that I do WAY too much. I need to chill out, take a step back and think about what I am risking? How are the choices I make impacting my life and those that are close to me?