Challenge: Making My Life Less Crazy

Resolution - better time management

(Photo credit: vpickering)

As some of you may know, I did a blog challenge in October. For November and December, I’ve joined a quilt-along (cutting fabric later today–YAY!). Last week, I joined Curves for a two-month trial to see if it will work for me and my artificial knee. All of these things are about taking time for me, something which I haven’t been very good at in the past, something I want to change. My first post in October was all about Taking Time for Me, and I am moving well in that direction.

This is because I have a problem with taking on too much, especially at work. If a project interests me, and I have the skills or expertise to do something about it, I’m in, usually without thinking. It doesn’t take a big stretch of the imagination to realize that this tendency can lead to trouble, especially when several of those projects collide in terms of deadlines or the necessary focus and attention they need. Let me give you just a few examples.

      1. Most people at our university, if they teach writing at all, they only teach one section, maybe two because it is so work intensive. I teach both first year (1 section) and second year (3 sections) writing courses to English majors.  I also coordinate the first year program. (Yes, I’m insane, but I love writing, and I love helping people find their voice.)  This kind of work really feels like my niche. But of course, it’s only half of my course load. I also teach three sections of general English to students from other majors. Which leads to #2.
      2. Our University uses in-house textbooks for our general English program. Since students are required to take four years of English (focused on all four skills: reading, listening, speaking, writing), there are eight books in this series, one per semester. We are currently in the process of producing new books to replace the series that is nearly 15 years old. And when I say “we,” I mean that I am the coordinator of this project. I have completed one book so far, with two more in active production. Five to go! Insanity, but I brought it on myself.
      3. This year, I serve as the advisor on three senior research graduation projects for three groups of English majors. One group has four members, the other two have two members each. I’ll spare you the details, but it does eat up a chunk of time.
The teaching alone could keep me more than busy, in addition to the research that I am doing, but I’m committed to these other projects. I accept that, and I work somewhat consistently on moving forward on them without stressing too much. But it’s only been recently that I’ve managed to get that stress thing under control. As part of that effort, I made a series of intentions to take time for myself and to take care of myself. Sometimes, it feels like taking this time makes things more complicated, as when I sometimes put the blog challenge ahead of other things I could (in the past I would have said “should”) be doing. But the things I’m now doing for me are changing the way I feel about everything in my life. After the experience of the blog challenge and preparing for the quilt-along, I would never go back to the way things were a few months ago. I like this new direction, this new way of thinking, the way I can reimagine my life. It just takes time.
I can credit my work with Farther to Go! with this transformation in the way I think about things. I now view  my life (n general) and my over commitment to work (specifically) in a while new way. I can’t change everything all at once. But bit by bit, I’m taking my life back and making my decisions and activities more intentional. In the meantime, even while things are still crazy, I am less stressed, and I have hope for a calmer schedule in the not-too-distant future.
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11 comments on “Challenge: Making My Life Less Crazy

    • Thanks, Bear! Also, this is the reason why I’m not trying to fit the piano back into my life right now, and why I was delighted to find another musical outlet that is less time intensive, but still helps me be expressive. 🙂

      • I think some folk evolved with 36 hr days. The gifted must constantly be making conscious choices, decisions and sacrifices that others never encounter or consider. Thank you for your kindness.— Bear

      • I will consider myself successful if I can find a balance that allows me to take care of me and complete the obligations I’m responsible for. As those obligations are completed, I intend to NOT replace them! 🙂 Thanks for your concern and support. I’m delighted to have found you! 🙂

      • Too soon to get that confident. This textbook project may yet be the death of me, but I’m trying to keep a reasonable perspective about it and just keep plugging along. I’d so like it not to be part of my life, but I will persevere. 🙂

      • Does the text have to be a collaboration? Or is there some way you can do it yourself with a transcriptionist and get done? “If you want a job done right, and all that….”

      • As you might suspect, it’s more complicated than that. I have a great writer who works with me. I also have a photographer and an administrative assistant (with limited availability). Without them, I’d be lost. The problem is that it’s reading content, then exercises, then activities for speaking and writing. It’s complicated and involves many many steps. But it will come together (I hope). 😉

      • You’ll get there. Then how helpful for others to have a useable tool. Maybe you’ll get rich with royalties. 🙂 become an independently wealthy world patroness of the arts …. especially your own. And never write another synopsis. It’ll be in the text. It’s 4 AM here. G’night. 🙂

      • Sleep well, Bear. No royalties for me. This is contracted by my university. Luckily, I have my own book idea simmering along on the back burner. I’ll take the royalties from that. 😉

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