I know I've beaten this horse before, but it ain't dead yet. I know because it's always trotting around my head.
Here's the thing. About a year ago I decided to add a bunch of stuff to my plate and see what happened. I managed to keep my shit together until this September, when I added work to the teetering pile and it started to collapse.
So I made a list. It's what I do. I made a list of the stuff I do, sorted by funness and importance:
|Stuff I Do||Funness||Importance|
|friends||9||9||Seeing friends is not only fun but essential to good physical and mental health, so this is the top of my list.|
|family time||8||9||Obviously hanging out with the kids is the most important thing I do, and it's almost as much fun as hanging out with friends, so this is an easy second.|
|sleep||7||9||I love and need sleep. If I don't get enough sleep not only do I become short-tempered and unpleasant, I also get stupid and sick. Seven hours a night, minimum.|
|exercise||4||9||As you can see, exercise gets the lowest fun rating so far at a disappointing 4, but it's pretty important. Since I spend so much time sleeping I'd like to recoup that investment by living for a long time, and to do that I need to stay fit. (As fit as possible under the circumstances.) This is one of the things I'd like to do more.|
|cook||8||8||I cook and bake a lot. I enjoy it and the value that cooking (and baking) brings to the family is worth the time I spend doing it.|
|work||7||8||Work is not only fun but satisfying and profitable, but it's one of the things I'm having trouble levering in. I am very easily distracted both online and off. I'm getting better at ignoring the outside world and buckling down. It's a process.|
|laundry||6||8||I spend a lot of time doing laundry. Especially folding. I've started listening to the CBC while I fold, which is at least sometimes educational or thought-provoking.|
|kid management||6||8||This is stuff like planning activities, sorting out clothes and toys, picking people up, and so on. It takes as long as it takes and I don't mind doing it.|
|housework||3||8||Hate housework. Hate dirty house. Can't afford housekeeper.|
|reading||9||7||Reading is one of the things I'm starting to panic about. I have hardly read anything since the read-a-thon and I feel like I'm getting behind. I have a list of interesting non-fiction books I want to read and I feel underinformed because I haven't read them yet. I must know things!|
|local politics||8||7||This is a new one for me, and not actually anything I technically spend much time on, apart from reading the news, but it's an area of interest I'd like to explore further.|
|school choir and volunteering in the classroom||8||6||I do a lot of volunteering for the school, but choir is most fun, followed closely by working in the classroom.|
|blog/writing||8||6||Now that Uncle Hershey has passed (may he rest in peace) there are exactly two people in the world who want me to blog more, but I really should write more if I ever want to not suck at it.|
|farting around||7||6||This seems like an odd thing to include in a post about being awesome and getting things done and organizing myself, but I'm a delicate person and I need my down time. It's not that I need to fart around, per se, but I need some wiggle room in my day: I want to read news online and watch the birds out the back window and hang out with other moms on the schoolyard without feeling guilty and harried.|
|eco-chair||6||5||Being chair of the Parent Council Eco-Committee is my least favourite school volunteer job. I spend a lot of time dealing with TDSB bureaucracy, and most of the rest of the time trying to convince disinterested parents to think about things they'd rather not think about. It's disheartening and unsatisfying. This is the one thing on this list I'm planning to walk away from as soon as I can.|
What I've learned from this exercise is that I probably prioritise activities a little differently than most high-achieving busy people (not to overgeneralize – of course there are HABP who make time for all of these things): I place a high value on reading, sleeping, cooking, and hanging out with friends, all of which tend to elbow out useful things like having meetings and writing proposals and whatever other useful things useful people do. So there's a good chance that I'll never be terribly useful, but at least now I know what I'm working with, what I'm willing to give up and what I insist on keeping, and with that knowledge I can try and spend the limited time I have on things which are really important.