Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Time Management

I've taken a brief hiatus from the Happiness Project because, it seems, I have no concept of Time Management.

I've have felt pulled in far too many directions as of late, and it's my own fault. Saying yes to too many things, placing demands on myself that are un-human, taking on more and more and then wondering why I am run down and stressed out.

I have always been guilty of this. Growing up it was soccer, tennis, field hockey, track, swimming, theater, orchestra, marching band, Student Government, German club, church activities, and so on and so forth. Except, when I was younger, I had boundless energy. As if I am attempting to re-create my childhood, I have suddenly filled up every single time block of every single day of the week and instead of feeling fulfilled and happy, I simply feel so tired and drained that it's a serious effort to brush my teeth at night.

The most unfortunate side effect of all of this is that the more tired I am, the more completely unable I am to sleep. Insomnia has always plagued me, coming and going in the most inconvenient of ways, and this time it seems it's set up house and decided to stay for awhile. Several weeks, to be most precise, and I had no idea what kinds of horrible things sleep deprivation can do to one's body.

I have no idea what this impulsive urge exists within me to commit, commit, commit to everything. And, even worse, I seek out extras for myself. I take on more work, I accept more responsibility, I say "yes" when I mean "Oh shit, no one else is speaking up....gah, I guess I'LL do it..." And I mean this in every facet of my life. I place standards of excellence on myself when it comes to friendships, my career, my writing, my running, and my relationships with everyone around me and when I attempt to meet every standard I find myself losing the ability to meet even the most subpar of standards in the most minute situations.

I know I'm not alone in this, and I know for a fact that many of my friends suffer from the same constant urge to be everything to everyone, except ourselves. That whole "savoring the moment" thing? I got so busy desperately trying to savor, and then I would become angry with myself for not savoring properly, and then somewhat depressed about my failure to savor said moment.


It's the same with being hopeful and optimistic and all of those other things I've been touting. Yes, it certainly relieves some burdens, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes I DO NOT feel hopeful and sometimes I CANNOT feel optimistic. And yet I continue to beat myself up for failing to meet these quotas.

This is absurd.

I do compare myself to others, and right now I am holding money high up on the list because if I had more of it, I could purchase the one thing I so desperately need right now: time. My time is money, and I fricking want more of it.

So, maybe I am failing at happiness at the moment. But that's ok. I think a huge part of ultimate happiness is taking a hard look at yourself and seeing where you fail to hit the mark, and the fact is that I am not failing my friends, my family, my job, or anything else. I'm failing myself for putting too much on my plate. I am letting no one down by not answering a text message or email in what I feel is an appropriate amount of time. I am not a sad excuse for a human being if I want to lay up on the couch and watch reruns of Friends for two hours. I am not compromising my future happiness by telling someone, "No, I can't do this thing on that day with you because I am already doing ten things that day."

At this moment in time, I want to add a sort of sub-category to this Happiness List.


And let yourself off the hook for not letting yourself off the hook.

And so on and so forth.

Oh God, how I wish for a damn snow day. Anything to just press pause in my life right now, and close my eyes, and catch my breath so that I could just, for one day, do absolutelyfreakingnothing.


Doctor H said...

Glitterati Dahhhling,

You are suffering not so much because you refuse to say "No" to all the things in life that need attention. You have, in fact, defined your problem succinctly. It isn't the "Yes" to everything. Rather you are suffering because of your refusal to believe that the things you own define you. (See: #3- What You're Worth.)

Your worth is not defined by stuff. This is true. Neither is it defined by continued action.

Look back. What of all those activities you mentioned from your youth (soccer, tennis, field hockey, track, swimming, theater, orchestra, marching band, Student Government, German club, church activities) made a significant difference in your life and the life of someone else? Those are the ones that stick with you.

For me, one of those defining activities was going into the slums of Chattanooga with my church and feeding the masses. I must have cooked a couple hundred pounds of BBQ chicken. That was back in the '90s, but I can still smell the cooking, still see skinny men munching, sauce on their hands. still see the smiles on the faces of those kids when they met Philly Eagles’ great Reggie White.

It is one of the struggles I am currently faced with. I believed I was making a difference. I have seen some (not all, mind you) of my students do great work. I have seen their eyes pop open with recognition. I have seen some of them go on to do cool things in business, in grad school, in life. Now I am underemployed and find that I no longer have the desire to do the insignificant, but that is all I have at the moment.

Just food for thought.

Dr H

The New Glitterati said...

Dr. H,
You are so wise. I agree that time well spent is time that makes you feel fulfilled, in whatever capacity it is you seek that. My problem is that everywhere around me, I see need. I see need in humanity, in my city, in society, in my friends and family...and I neglect, whether consciously or unconsciously, to intelligently see my own needs.
Sure, I'm good at filling certain needs (social, spiritual, etc.) but I somehow get so caught up in those that I forget the most basic physiological need of all: down time. Time where I am not surrounded with stimuli such as cell phones, computers, books, television, etc. Time where I can turn my brain OFF and RELAX. I have forgotten, in fact, that this is even a need. It's not a luxury- it's a necessity.

And, to be fair, I can honestly say that all of those activities made a difference in my life. They surrounded me with people who still impact the way I think and how I make my way in this world, they taught me discipline and passion and dedication and working with others. I don't discount any of them. I am someone who harvests riches from the simplest of experiences.

I just need some time carved out for frigging peace and quiet!