Monday, March 24, 2008

Smokin' Dayplanners

Over the past couple months, my schedule has exploded. I’ve had a stretch the last few weeks where I had an appointment, a commitment, or a meeting every day of the week. Run to the orthodontist, squeeze in the grocery shopping, make a trip to the library, kids need to get to piano lessons, swimming lessons, sewing lessons…My van seems to be on the road 24/7, and I’m going in such tight circles if I look in my side mirror, I will be able to read my own license plate.

The truth is, I have a very low busyness tolerance. This last few weeks has been killing me, sapping me of creative energy for writing, making me want to hibernate, escape, or otherwise check out. I am rushing around too fast to pay attention to details, I’m forgetting things I used to remember with ease, and I’m spinning my wheels more than Jeff Gordon doing a celebratory burnout after winning at Daytona. A lot of smoke, a lot of noise, but not much forward progress.

Our society today prides itself on its busyness. Ask a friend how they are doing, and more often than not, you’ll get the reply, “Busy.” Then you’ll share a nod and a commiserating smile, because you, of all people, know the true meaning of busy. You feel a little thrust of satisfaction, validation, whatever. You are among the ranks of ‘The Busy.’

But at what cost? Things that once had priority become things you either have to shoehorn into your schedule, or you drop them by the wayside altogether. Our schedule became so overloaded this past week that my husband and I completely forgot about the Good Friday service at church. We were mortified. The cost of a busy schedule was high that day.

Another reminder of how crammed my schedule has become came yesterday. For the first time in months, we opened the doors of our home to others. We had some family over for Easter dinner. We had a wonderful time. Instead of fretting over the payroll I still needed to run, I took the entire afternoon off of doing “STUFF” and played card games. (FYI, the card ‘Brad Pitt’ will work for a TON of adjectives in the game Apples to Apples…good and bad.) I ran the payroll last night after everyone had gone home, and I was relaxed, things went well, and the work got done.

There are some things I can’t cut out of my schedule at the moment: home-schooling, bookwork, family obligations, but there are ways I can streamline, cut back, and curtail my busyness. I’ll be looking for those this week. I’ll be trying to schedule things a bit better so I don’t always feel like I’m behind the curve, barely accomplishing things in time. And I will take some more time to relax, to be with people, to enjoy the journey.

(This will naturally involve watching more basketball. Did you notice the Jayhawks got an invitation to the Sweet Sixteen? SWEET is the right word! Woohoo!)
A very special thank-you to CJ, picture-maker expert and terrific friend, for the picture of the burning dayplanner. You Rock!


  1. I don't even try to keep a dayplanner anymore because I forget to write things down!

    Sad about your Good Friday service but it's a lesson well learned. I had to take a week off and found myself wondering, "Shouldn't I be DOING SOMETHING?" It's good to slow down once in awhile.

  2. Oh man! I can totally sympathize. On any given day, I'd much rather stay home than be on the road for any reason--such a creature of habit! I hope you can work writing back into your schedule this week =)

  3. our society also forces us into the super hero mode. Sometimes there's guilt for not being able to keep up or for just saying No to another volunteer position. Something has to give and usually it's you. Good for you for recognizing you can't do everything and for pulling back. If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
    thanks for the opportunity to play with the picture. I had fun!

  4. Erica, Oh how I can relate. When our four boys were growing up, every day on our wall calendar (before day planners) had something scribbled on it. Those days flew past, and even though I wanted to become a writer, I didn't pursue it until three of the four had started their own lives. Now, my busyness (and greatest distraction) is email, losing myself on the internet, etc. If it's not one thing, it's something else.