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Balancing Act

It’s Friday night. Mike is in his art studio [read: the corner of our living room between his bookcase of school books and my bookcase of plays, where he keeps his easel and paints set up over a tarp on the floor so he doesn’t have to worry about spilling paint. It is my favorite corner in our apartment] and I have, so far, spent my entire evening wandering aimlessly, nervously, unable to sit and write even though it is the only thing I have wanted to do all day. See, I had a schedule today. I started out my week with a precise schedule that I had written to help me manage my time. There are only a few things in life I really care to spend my time on, but there are lots of things I am obligated to spend time on. I need a schedule to help me trudge through the have-to things so I can spend more time on the want-to things.

I’m going to have to go way back to the beginning here, because you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

Shortly after Christmas whirled past, (really? Has it really been weeks since Christmas? Because I still have a stack of un-mailed, un-written Christmas cards) I decided I was absolutely done feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day. I finally learned how to be punctual, and oh my goodness, it feels good. Now I wanted to learn how to manage my time. So I created a schedule that includes an hour a day for yoga, an hour a day for writing, time to prepare meals and walk the dogs, time to primp, time to read, time to work, to every season, turn, turn, turn. (Name that song and I’ll give you a high-five.)  By writing out, hour by hour, all the things I want and am obligated to do in a day, I proved to myself that there really are enough hours in the day to do it all. My goals were not too steep. I decided to start living this schedule the first Monday after the New Year.

That was this past Monday. Not a single day have I managed to follow my new schedule. Monday came pretty close, except that I over-worked and by the time I came home I was so exhausted I couldn’t do anything that required moving my butt off the couch. Every day after that I over-slept in the mornings, over-worked all day, and came home too tired to move. I fell asleep in front of the television every night this week, slept terribly, and couldn’t get up in the mornings. Then when I finally found a few hours to write tonight, I spent most of them wandering aimlessly around my apartment unable to focus.

How do you do it? How do you balance work, chores, exercise, romance, and play? Because I can’t figure it out.


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  • Jeff

    I think the song is (aptly) Turn! Turn! Turn by The Byrds.

    Here’s a high five:

    |||| /

    I hear you about where is the time. Maybe this first week of the new year, a “a time for every purpose under heaven” just needs to be doing the “have to” stuff after the holidays. It’s sure a tough challenge sometimes to work in the “want to” on top of everthing else. Keep the faith!

  • Kim

    Aw, I was beaten to the song-naming contest! Can I get a cross-country high five anyway? 🙂

    And I don’t know how to work the balance…I oversleep every morning and usually get home at 7:15 (if I go to Curves; sometimes I skip the gym just so I’ll get home earlier), all tired. I barely have energy to make dinner and sit on the couch sometimes. And I hardly have any responsibilities at home I don’t know how people with kids/pets do it.

  • When you figure it out, please be sure to let us in on the secret! I, too, am too exhausted every week night to do much of anything. Then I try to cram all the “not work” stuff (chores, errands, friends, boyfriend) into Saturday and Sunday, which is equally exhausting! Perhaps the solution is to win the lottery and hire a staff. I think that would ease some of exhaustion. 😉

  • A schedule like that *seems* like a good idea, but it can be crazy. Also, as you discovered, it can be very dispiriting if you don’t succeed. If you want to talk more about getting organized and managing your time, feel free to get in touch: http://SilverClipboard.com/coaching

  • schizotypalvamp

    Easy!
    I don’t. I suck at this. There is never enough time.