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12-16 Mary Buckham

Friday, February 24, 2012

Leaping Less Often--Making Time for Me

Leap Year. An extra day. Oh, boy!

Since I don’t need to spend time on any Sadie Hawkins activities, maybe I’ll invest the day finishing projects that have fallen to the bottom of my ever-expanding to-do list. Often these are half-finished home improvement, clutter removal, paper filing or garden projects. Tasks I figured would take me, say, a day when I started them. Unfortunately I have a severe handicap when it comes to estimating woman-hours per job.

As my husband will testify, I have no problem leaping. My inclination is to say, ‘Sure, I can do that. Shouldn’t take me more than a day (or hour) or two.” I’m an optimist. And, yes, the appropriate adjective is cockeyed.

When it comes to professional matters, I’ve learned to follow the advice provided by my better half after observing my time management skills for a number of years. Before I promise a client a completion date, I tell myself to take a deep breath and multiply whatever number I think is realistic by three or four. Usually this means I only have to stay up until midnight to finish on time instead of pulling an all-nighter. If I’ve promised someone else to finish a job, I keep my promise.

I’m not so kind to myself. I find it very hard to say “no” if I’m asked to judge a writing contest, help a fellow author with a critique, write and layout a newsletter for a nonprofit I believe in, or serve as secretary for our neighborhood association. Often that means the only pruning my roses get comes courtesy of beavers, and the floor has become my filing cabinet because I can’t stuff another thing in the hanging folders.

So, this leap year (starting now), I promise myself to become more selective with my leaps. It’s okay to say “no” to outside commitments in order to say “yes” to my own projects—including reading for the sheer pleasure of it.

Now there’s something to leap on. Time for me.

How do you carve out time for yourself—to write, to dream, to relax?

10 comments:

Judith Ashley said...

Your topic really hit home, Linda. What I'm doing is, other than daily things like dishes, laundry, Romancing The Genres, etc., I'm not adding Any Thing to my To Do List until I cross off tasks that have been there a long time.

It is working! I just crossed off a task that had been sitting there since last Fall.

I do have the philosophy that if I don't take care of myself, I won't have anything left to take care of others. I made a commitment a year ago to live my life with me as a priority which means regular exercise, saying 'no', asking for help with some projects, etc. and it is working.

Oh, yes - another strategy is to assess the project to determine if I want it on my To Do List at all.

March 2012 will be the first month in a long time that I won't have a long term project on my To Do List.
I smile and relax a bit just thinking about it - that's only a week away! I can do it!!

Linda Lovely said...

Judith--I'm impressed. I really like the idea of refusing to add anything new to my list until an item comes off.

Congrats on your stick-to-it guns!

Ellis Vidler said...

Judith, good idea! Linda, I share your problem. I always think I can do something in a short time, but I forget how many of those short-time commitments I've already made. Suddenly I'm overwhelmed and have not time for my own projects--like writing.

I used to have Outlook, and the pop-up reminders helped. I wonder if there's a program out there to do just that. I'll have to look. Thanks for making me think of it.

Polly said...

I have no problem saying no. For one thing, very few people ask me to do things. That's the benefit of keeping a low profile. But if I say I'm going to do something, I feel committed to follow through, or else it weighs on my mind and makes me grumpy. I hate being grumpy.

I hope Leap Year is good to you, Linda. And I hope you follow through. Nothing is worse than being overloaded.

Robin Weaver said...

The really sad thing is when I do get time for myself, I'm so stunned I usually don't "do" anything.

Great post!

Linda Lovely said...

Looks like it's a common problem. Robin, you made me laugh. I've been known to stare into space clueless when our electricity goes out and my computer to do list vanishes.

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm not great at saying 'No', but I do try to stick to projects that benefit my career in the way of networking, etc.

Meeting my sister online to write every weekday helps keep my writing on track. But I have to admit I can relate to Robin's comment - been ther; done that! LOL

Linda Lovely said...

I kept my exercise promises when I had a walking buddy that I had to meet every morning. That writing buddy idea may be a winner, Sarah. Thanks!

Paty Jager said...

Linda, I think we can all relate to your "leap". Great post!

Judith Ashley said...

Any change takes commitment, perseverance and determination - and it is so much easier with someone else along on the road with us.

My neighbor and I walk every day; Sarah and I share blog duties; I don't have the writing buddy but once I start on a project, I'm pretty good at sticking to it. My fantasy is to find a critique group/Beta readers who have nothing else to do in their lives but read my work (LOL). Oh and they will do it on the computer so I don't have to print out 350+ pages.