Tuesday, May 6, 2008

If I can just make it until...

Has anyone ever had the feeling of being so busy/overwhelmed that they keep a certain date in their head as their goal because "after that day things will be calmer!"? I seem to fall into this trap over and over and over. I don't know if it is the nature of my job, or if it is just life in general. I'm starting to wonder if this is not a healthy way to go through life. If nothing else, this approach has started to feel like an empty promise. Inevitably, I finally get to "the date" with a lot of built up stress and anticipation about "the promised land" (i.e. time off, or at least less rushing around) only to be disappointed with the realization that my to do list hasn't gotten any shorter, my calendar is still just as full (if not fuller) and there is a new "date" to shoot for. Sometimes I feel like I am walking through the desert to a watering hole only to arrive at the watering hole and find out it was a mirage.

Case in point: May 3rd has been my goal date for a couple months. May 3rd marked the official end of all kid oriented scheduling in my program for this school year. The rest of the events that I am responsible were supposed to be "minor" in comparison and are adult focused. May 3rd also marked the last Saturday I was scheduled to work until June 7th (ahh, weekend sleeping in bliss!). So, I woke up early on May 4th only to roll out of bed and go to work/church. It was the last day of another kid program in my department so I needed to be present. OK, I can handle that because it is a regular Sunday schedule for me. No biggie, right? Except, since I have been so focused on May 3rd, I forgot all the detail stuff I needed to finish for a departmental development day on Tuesday (today...). So, May 4th and 5th were spent squeezing the planning in between regularly scheduled work. Oh, and of course there are those training sessions the 4 Mondays of May that I have to be around for (luckily, I am not leading the training!!!).

What does this mean? It means that I worked a 13 hour day yesterday so that I would be prepared for last night's training and today's "fun and relaxing" development day. I means that I just swapped one set of stresses for a new set of stresses and that the break in the clouds I was promised (I promised to myself?) was a mirage. It means that I am feeling disillusioned by my own schedule.

Does anyone else have this problem? I am starting to feel like I need a different approach to life. I constantly feel like I am living for "someday" rather than living in the moment. Sure, I have brief encounters where I am able to appreciate the "here and now," but these are the exception not the rule. I feel like I am stuck. I have to plan ahead with my job! Otherwise I would be reduced to tears everyday, overwhelmed by the constant barrage of tasks and people that battle for my attention. In one sense, my schedule/calendar/to-do list is my saving grace. However, that same schedule/calendar/to-do list also serves to remind me that there is no end in sight. I need a break in the clouds. How do you create a space of calm in the midst of the storm?

I will gladly accept all suggestions, comments, and assvice.

5 comments:

Kathy V said...

I used to have a job like that and you literally had to work on a little bit of everything everyday so that you didn't have one project finish only to have four more drop in your lap that are all due tomorrow with no time to do it. So I am not sure what kind of suggestion to give except to schedule your time so that you are working on the most important part of projects first and move on to a new project after an hour or two. Now the only problem with this plan is that you have to be a little more organized since you are at different stages of all projects rather than finishing one and moving on to the next one. It was very challenging for me to remain organized with what I was doing on every project and know where everything was. I had to break it up with blocks of time. Sometimes it still drove me nuts though. Good Luck with you scheduling issues.

Fertilized said...

i WISH i have a suggestion for you. I am currently also working towards dates. Mine is May 16th. I will have 2 months of paid leave then (as long as i continue to work 8 hours a day and use no leave for my dr's appointments) Then after that date i am pushing to work until june 17 - arbitrary - but this is the way I also live my life. you are right, it's probably not helpful

chicklet said...

I do it kinda differently, but kinda the same. I use dates not as the "when it'll be done" but "when this cool thing will happen" - like a trip, to China. I've always found that the every day can be kinda boring, and stressful, so I almost always plan something for a few months out, or even a month out, so I have something to look forward to. Sometimes it's just a day skiing, other times it's a big trip, but for me, that works well cuz it's a date where a good thing will happen, not where bad things end. If that makes any sense whatsoever...

sara said...

I guess I have the same approach as you do, but I think if it works for you it's not a bad way to go through life (my last couple of posts even mentioned my current craze). I think it's all in how you look at it. Right now the having a goal and moving forward a few days at a time to a goal has been helping me keep my sanity at the start of a bumpy pregnancy. But you bring up some great points, maybe it means I'm a little bit of a control freak? Who the heck knows :-)

Kathy V said...

Tagged you if you want to play.