Tag Archives: scheduling

Overbooking Ourselves To Death

Every now and then I hit this mode of sheer panic.

It’s that crushing realization that I have a virgin’s chance in hell of surviving my scheduled week. Not a chance. Well, a slim chance if the wind’s at my back, the cosmos aligns, and the sea parts before me. Then, maybe.

Somehow we always get it all done, and if we don’t, still no one loses an eye. It`s not like we’re some hero in the movies, racing against the clock to save the innocents before slaughter or anything. It’s drycleaning or a doctor’s appointment or something.

Chill, yo.

But, yeah, I freak out. Then I’m all jackrabbit-in-headlights as I figure it out. Maybe if I channel Flash Gordon and develop a need for speed. Make it so!

Another rainy night on Vancouver buses, by me.

This morning I’ve had a delayed moment of genius in which I’ve realized I’m having dinner a block from where I was to get my hair cut today. Okay, now I’m not going out of my way today — instead I’ll get my hair cut Monday, and do dinner, all in the same block.

Sounds logical, right? No NASA engineer was injured in the making of this epiphany. I mean, I’d booked both appointments 2 weeks apart from each other initially, so it wasn’t something that occurred to me.

I bet smarter bears analyze their schedules all the time. Yay, you, you smarties!

Me, I’m just getting the fuck out of the rat race so I can stop the stupid, since having daily appointments that get me out of the house will be what keeps me sane over in the island life. The idea of my being locked up 24/7 captioning my little TV shows or writing makes my head go spinny. Well, after a month of isolation so I can do my Rat Race Detox, that is.

But this is what my life has been reduced to in recent weeks. Small moments of victory when the only real win I’ve had is shaving 30 minutes of time wasting from my week.

I know there are the hours I spend just chilling or recharging, but I won’t apologize for that, and I don’t feel that’s the problem. Why shouldn’t I want more time to enjoy my home or whatever pointlessness I feel like accomplishing? It’s MY fucking life. Screw appointments and work and whatever YOU think add values to life. Mine comes from doing things I want that recharge my brain so I can be the wordy girl I love to be.

As a writer, part of the writing process is long hours of doing what to others is “nothing.” Really, what does one accomplish sitting at a keyboard tapping away? The dishes go undone, dust starts holding conventions on your bookshelves, while appointments loom like some evil curtain to be drawn on a great idea, enforcing an end to writing efforts by actually standing up and walking away from the words all because you have to see some guy about a thing.

As far as time management goes, writing is the worst crime to inflict on anyone.

So, you can imagine my loathing of a world that revolves around deadlines, starting points, and any kind of chronological order at all.

It’s a wonder I even believe in being punctual, and even crazier that I’m a Deadline Slayer. Must be the Recovering Catholic thing.

It seems extreme, picking up and moving from a town just for the sake of time management, but that’s a large part of what I’m doing. I’m forcibly excising my endless aneurysms due to bus commutes, soul-sucking scheduling of rehab with work commutes and micro-planning the things I need to do, all because some 10+% of my life evaporates weekly just for the to/from of my job. Even if I worked from home in Vancouver, I’d still spend my life in long commutes, because it’s the nature of this city.

If moving is what it takes to stop overbooking myself to death and losing countless hours sitting on public transit staring at strangers I don’t give a shit about and will never break bread with, as a world locked behind water-streaked dirty windows passes me by, then so be it.

There are moments when sheer panic hits me and it’s not about the time scheduling. Sometimes it’s about what a 180 my life will be when I hit the brakes and start working from home in a place that’s walking distance from the ocean, 30% the size of my present town, and knowing that I can’t afford to undo the decision if it doesn’t turn out to be the smartest thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Then I breathe again. And I remember: I’m also making this move because I often find myself having to remind myself to stop and breathe, and there’s something wrong with forgetting such integral parts of existence.

Soon, appointments will be a welcome diversion from my quiet life. An exciting reason to get out and see the world, and not this obligation or sense of burden I seem to see them with now.

Yes, 2012 is the year where I won’t have to fear finding myself under a tombstone that reads “Here lies Steff, whose head exploded when she had One Appointment Too Many on a Dark and Stormy Tuesday.”

I just have to survive overbooking myself to near-death for six more weeks, then my life will feel like the soft pneumatic whoomp you experience when an elevator suddenly aborts motion after 30 floors. And that will be something worth writing about.*

*It’s a personal blog, people. Of course I’ll blog about my life in Victoria. Might even start a whole nother blog too.

The Christmas Myth of Time Management

There was a moment sheer heart-plunging terror as I added the line “bring up Christmas decorations and get started” to my to-do list for the week.

What with the what, WHEN?

Oh, lord.

It’s That Time Again.

So now, on top of the list of 26 things I need to do, I gotta work out more because the season’s full of food, clean more to entertain more (and because there’s more crap filling the house), plus all the baking for the Christmas gifts I’ll make this year, oh, right, and go to a zillion social events.

“Christmas”,
The Holiday Brought to You in Part
by FACEPALM™,
that universal sentiment surpassed only
by HEAD-DESK™.

And, like, three months ago, I started this little project of organizing my music CDs and putting them into binders.

Except… there’s, like, 300 CDs in piles, in the corner of the living room, where the Christmas tree soon needs to go.

Not only do I need to organize those fuckers and put them in the binders, but it turns out the binder sleeves are only pre-cut, they haven’t pulled the little piece of plastic out where I have to slide the CD in. Do you KNOW how much such things annoy me?

No. You don’t. I glower at this pile. I loathe this pile. I suppose the time has come.

A friend posted a great list today, the seven steps to “grow the action habit”, and the second one is: Be a doer.

I was a Girl Guide. I can be a doer. I know I can!

I shall be a CD-organizer doer-girl sometime this week.

It’s on my list.

(Found on a variety of blogs, always uncredited.)

Ironically, also on my list is to “make a list every day. ”

On the rare occasions of my life where I’ve made a list (I’ve seen more blue moons than I’ve made lists), I’ve been killer productive. If I remember to write on the list that I have to cross things off the list, that is.

On the upside, all those rare list-making occasions have been within the last six months. Nowhere near habit-forming, but at least I’ve had some positive results in the “I’ll try that for a dollar, Alex” category.

Let’s face it, life’s all about time.

It’s about getting things done —  a race to save time so we don’t waste time, but without enjoying the time we have. Or something.

Even when we do save time and knock obligations out of the park, we’re still left with fractured time, since no one turns off cellphones or does Just One Thing at length anymore. The proverbial ADD society, sure, but who actually lives in the moment anymore?

I’m still trying to find that balance of Getting Shit Done and Doing Nothing. Of course, I keep vascillating to extremes. I’m the ping-pong ball that ricochets from one wall to the other, never landing in the middle.

Still, I keep bouncing, keep trying, and sooner or later gravity’ll pull me to a stop — and I’m okay with that.

December’s kind of like my “new-year’s-resolutions-practice month”. I’ll fail dismally, likely, with all the socializing and all that, but at least I’ll be working on life more or thinking about how I can improve it (and want to), often.

Besides, it’s not about being perfect tomorrow, it’s about being better tomorrow and better the week after that.

When I can get traction with the time management, it’ll help me on all levels — I’ll eat healthier at home, live in a cleaner environment, process stress better because I’ll have an accomplishments system in place, and I’ll generally be less of who I’ve been frustrated in being, and more of the task-oriented person I’d like to be.

It’s an uphill battle for the next five weeks, though. It’s that annual time when we’re so inundated by responsibilities and the directions we’re pulled in that we’re more likely to overindulge in all our flaws — fall behind on bills, eat too much junk, drink too often, exercise too little, rest too little, and so on.

There’s a reason they’re called the “January blues”.

It’s why we’re all so compelled to visit change upon ourselves when the new year rolls around — Christmas brings out the best in us but also exploits all our daily failings. It’s inevitable. We have great fun and we pay the price in every way, usually.

Being prepared for that by taking little steps to try and avoid the severity of my Descent into Calendar Madness could be one thing that separates me from my recent years’ “Chaos Called Christmas” experiences.

And it starts with one little list aimed at getting me from here to November 30th with a lot of organizational success and a big game plan.

Item 27: Make a new list on December 1st.