Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Accepting Limitations

For the chronically overextended and project-driven, it can be difficult to strike a balance between accomplishing your goals and getting things done, and pushing yourself so hard that you break. I mused as I was posting last night that the list of things I had down for today was not reasonable, and if I pushed to do them all I would not only not enjoy any of them, but I would also probably fail. Since the jewelry class is the last project of the day--and the one requiring the most focus, energy and stamina--that's the one at which I would likely fail. As I am also looking forward to it the most, I really don't want to poop out before it's done. The conundrum raised by the timing of the activities of today has pushed me to a conclusion: I can only do three things a day.

Another way of looking at it is that I can (should) not schedule more than 6-7 hours a day. Three of today's projects (piano, blood work done at the lab, and jewelry class) take up 7-1/2 hours including driving, and two of them require total continuous focus. That's enough. I am not going to get the pictures of the contractor's unfinished work taken today. I am not going to work in the apartment getting it ready to rent. I am not going to spend three hours in the studio working on orders. I am not going to do my hive inspections in the apiary. I am not going to talk to a lawyer about my options with the contractor. All of those things are going to need to be parceled out over the rest of the week. Probably in groups of three.

The upshot of deciding to go about life this way is that I know and acknowledge going into a day that there are projects that will not progress at all that day. Heretofore I have always started each day holding a shining ideal of progress on everything I have in the air. As the day went on I would let things drop as they would, and I'd let all the balls fall at the end of the day with a "Whew!" and a recap of the many things I did get done. Then I'd philosophically assign the didn't-get-to's to the next day... and the next... and the next. But now I have to squarely face, first thing in the morning, that there are projects I am not even going to try to touch. As they sit they will stay until the day arrives that is their day to be one of the three. Their day may not be tomorrow or the next day either, and I am going to have to be good with letting them languish. How odd to have reached my mid-fifties without accepting this reality. But I can't recover from overdoing like I used to. A good night's sleep used to set me to rights and I could wade into the deep end again the day after a long, hard day of work. Now I have to plan a little more carefully because my supply of energy isn't inexhaustible, and it takes sometimes a full day or more to bounce back after really pushing hard. I am no longer the hare, I have become the tortoise. Sigh.

On the plus side, this kind of a schedule allows for naps, and I am proactively going to nap this afternoon to prepare for tonight's class so I can hit the ground running at 5:30 and not look up until 10:30. Tomorrow the bees, the photos, and working in the glass studio. Friday the lawyer, the apartment, more studio time, and lining up new contractors to finish the open projects. Or maybe that fourth one will wait till Monday and Friday I will act upon the information I get from the lawyer as to my options. Now off to nap.


Bill said...

Can you hear that sound to the West? That's me giving you a standing ovation!

ellen abbott said...

actually, I think you are right on time. mid-50s is when we learn that lesson.