Being sick last week gave me time to reflect on my life and the things I have prioritized. Although not the worst of illnesses, I was put out of commission for several days by the mother of all nasty head colds. Whether a part of the oxygen deprived thinking due to cemented sinuses, or delusion from fever, I found myself in deep examination of my calendar for the next few months…
And damn, am I rightly and royally screwed. If I were a food, I’d be a waffle; not by design, but by lack of design. I have a bad habit of overestimating my available time and ability to do things. When faced with the decision of where to commit my time, I tend to view things in terms of, “only.” This task “only” takes an hour.
That job is “only” one day per week. What I tend forget about is the prep time and post event work needed for the tasks and jobs. Something may only appear to require minimal time, but in actuality it can be twice that.
It “only” takes about 30 minutes to bake a pan of cinnamon rolls… but …
The prep work for the dough and the making of the rolls can be up to 2 1/2 hours (depending on the method used), and another 30 minutes to let the rolls cool down (unless you want to blister the inside of your mouth with scalding brown sugar filling). So all in all, it takes more like 3-4 hours to make cinnamon rolls…
…and it took me forever to learn that time related truth. (and no, this does not include the canned pre-made rolls that you get from the store. Not that they aren’t great, but they screw up this analogy)
“Then why,” you may ask, “do you agree to an obligation if you don’t have enough time?”
Because I’m a slow learner on a good day, and an idiot on others…and, sometimes, being over-scheduled occurs gradually, one project at a time. Whether it’s co-owning a business, performing contract work once a week, or teaching class twice a week, or any of the half a dozen other things that pop up in between them all, I stay more than a little busy.
As of this writing, I realize that I’m maxed out on time commitment, and must guard the rest of my time fiercely until one (or more) of my present obligations are concluded. Which means, please forgive me if you’ve asked me for a favor and it’s taking me too damn long to complete it. I’m a work in progress, and am not willing to break a promise of help if at all possible; but I am going to have to clamp down on anything new for a while.
In the meantime, little by little, I’m trying to carve out some ‘me’ time…whether it’s watching a guilty pleasure movie/tv show, updating this column, hanging out with dead relatives (admit it, that makes you curious), or just going for a drive, I’m getting better at slowing down.
And for the times I’m not, mother nature and a rhinovirus are always ready to lend a helping microbe.