Chasing Inspiration

Monday, December 14, 2009

Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time in a land not so different from our own, there lived a princess. This princess had the magic ability to squeeze more hours into her day than the average person. No, she didn't sleep less or stop eating. She was able to bend the physics of time in order to squeeze in more to every minute.

Because of her special ability, the princess often over committed herself. Which increased her need to bend and manipulate time. Every time she squeezed more into a minute, her special ability lost some of its potency, which made each attempt more and more tiring and difficult.

Eventually the princess was unable to bend time. No matter how she tried she could not squeeze any more into a minute than her normal subjects could. She was exhausted, stressed and unhappy.

How often do we fall prey to the myth that we can have more hours in our day? It's impossible to have more than 24 hours in a 24 hour day. And yet we all want to stuff more and more into our days. Like me with my Office Downsize Project. Which is woefully behind. Why? Because I was over committed. I didn't take into account all the things that I had already committed to and how much time they would require of me. I didn't look at my commitments and eliminate or delegate something. I held on to them all and kept thinking, as so many of my clients do, that if I only had the right tool or the right timer or the right something I could get it all done.

I gave my Make Time To Write talk to my writing group back in October. And I was reminded that I only have 24 hours in a day. How am I spending those 24 hours and does that match up with my goals? If the answer is they don't match very well then Houston, we have a problem.

I was ill over Thanksgiving so I spent some time filling out a hypothetical calendar. I had a column of what I thought I was going to do and how much time I thought it would take me. Then over the course of the long weekend I filled in what I did and how long it really took me in another column. The results were interesting.

I had written a fairy tale in my head about how I spent my time. That it took only so much time to do certain activities and that I would get things done whether I felt like it or not. Reality was that I often got side tracked during tasks so they took much longer. The internet is a bigger detriment than I thought and if I was in the middle of a good book, I was often loathe to sacrifice reading time for doing time. The tasks I did complete were not always the tasks that had the most impact on my values and goals.

Color me gently rebuked. December has started off a little better. I'm more deliberate with my choices, or I try to be. I have taken my fibromyalgia into account and when there are environmental changes that I know are going to impact me, I pay more attention and adjust everyone's expectations - even those at work if needed. I have a running list of what I'm committed to and when things need to be accomplished and I've done a fairly decent job of updating the list daily or every other day. I've started eliminating those activities that don't serve me well if at all.

I want to rewrite my fairy tale. I love a happily ever after. In this case, the princess doesn't have the ability to bend time. Rather, she has the ability to make smart choices about her commitments and is not afraid of telling someone no or not right now. She's in control of her tasks and reviews them for efficacy and goodness of fit. Now, if she could also foresee the winning Power Ball numbers and dance as well as Ginger Rogers. I guess a girl can't have everything.

No comments:

Post a Comment