Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, November 15, 2010

Done for the Week: Or Should I Say Over-Done?

As I look over the list below, I begin to understand why I have been feeling so adrenalized the last few days.  It has finally dawned on me that I have been squeezing the self-care I seem to require (yoga, meditating, exercising, journaling, etc.) into an already full regimen of meetings, mothering, work responsibilities,  housework and household administration.  It's not working!

I no longer wish to live at this pace.   As I sit here this morning, I see one major area that needs less of my effort and attention.  I need to cut back on what item 3 below belatedly identifies as my "overly-significant" support to the nonprofit organization that has taken up so much of my life for the past two years.  

I speak of the organization as "transitioning," and it is.  But as far as I can imagine into the future, I believe it will continue to "transition," and to experience a daunting gap between mission and resources.  I have been stretching my body, mind and spirit across that gap in a largely volunteer capacity for longer now than I've held most paying jobs.  I have allowed myself to become indispensable in too many ways.  This coming week, once again, the rubber meets the road, this time in a large public meeting.  Apparently only I can produce the printed programs, with multiple inserts--in addition to my other responsibilities as web mistress, board member, general clerical support and technical troubleshooter, task force member, action participant, and core team leader in my congregation.  The necessary information had not been determined by interim staff in time for me to complete the program layout during my regular Friday volunteer time last week, so I am stuck trying to wedge this complicated project into the busiest part of this week.  

It's time to learn to say no, to draw lines and to stand by them.

Here's the somewhat manic list of what I got done last week--in the storm before the sought-after calm.

Done for the Week:  Nov. 8-14
  1. Continued off-season race training, in clearly-time-to-cut-back-on-crazy-schedule mode; biked once, ran twice
  2. Finished no books!   (In the middle of several)
  3. Continued overly-significant support to transitioning nonprofit organization
  4. Identified need to cut back
  5. Worked my two part-time jobs
  6. Published 5 blog posts
  7. Meditated 6 times
  8. Wrote 6 Gratitude Journal entries
  9. Wrote 4 Morning Pages
  10. Spent 4 hours working on my novel
  11. Saw play "My Name is Asher Lev" with friend
  12. Had my son burn meditation CD for friend
  13. Attended Jazz for Justice fundraiser with my husband 
  14. Worked on improving communication with my husband, over coffee and one lunch, at therapy session, and on drives and errands
  15. Helped my husband prepare for his month away--worked on not begrudging this support
  16. Attended 2 yoga classes
  17. Walked my dog twice, with my son
  18. Watched our two favorite basketball teams play 6  games, with son and husband
  19. Attended church
  20. Organized my congregation's participants for this week's public meeting
  21. Attended board meeting
  22. Attended Issues Night
  23. Snatched what time I could outside, reading
  24. Found my missing cell phone--and held on to it all week!
  25. Found my missing keys--two sets
  26. Took delivery of new fridge and wall oven; delivered electrifying lecture on keeping new fridge clean
  27. Survived first week of new time, with appallingly early evening darkness
  28. Survived one week with absent son, visiting his sister out of state
  29. Maintained living room, worked on kitchen, and recruited some  help with the dishes
  30. Helped my teenager with algebra homework 

Last week's most important accomplishment, in red above, was finally getting it, though others have been telling me for awhile, that I need to become less embroiled in the effort to save the nonprofit organization I work for, as both paid (in a token fashion) and volunteer staff.  Beginning the surgical removal of my soul from this enterprise is next week's focus goal.  Enough said.

Last week's focus goal was spending 4 hours working on my novel.  Again, I succeeded in sticking to the schedule that supports this goal.  I plan to continue in this vein until I can increase the time I can devote to writing.

Last week's secondary goals were to "try to meditate daily" (I missed only one day); to exercise 4 times (managed 3); to "keep up with the week's laundry and diminish the backlog" (did neither); and to "finish cleaning the kitchen in celebration of the new, properly working oven and refrigerator" (spent time on this endeavor, but didn't complete it).  Next week's secondary commitments are more or less the same--daily meditation; exercise 4 times; do at least my week's laundry, get my kids to do theirs, and enlist some help with the seemingly never-ending battle to slay the laundry-backlog dragon; and clean the kitchen sufficiently to schedule installation of wall oven by someone I know and have to see again.  Wish me luck!

Last week's done for the week post ended with my resolutions to "be compassionate with my less-than-stellar productivity, and that of my family members.  And to smile more."  While I believe these are important underpinnings to a happier and more meaningful life, I am seeing a trend--in adding focus goals, and secondary goals, and now overarching goodness aspirations--toward increasing perfectionism and expansiveness, which is antithetical to compassion.  And doesn't leave much time, or energy, or spirit for smiling.  So for now, these desirable strivings will go without saying.  

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