Ever feel spread too thin?
I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago and realized that I do a lot of different professional, volunteer and personal activities. Then, I had an epiphany. I almost never feel overwhelemed or spread too thin. Seriously.
Don't you hear folks say things everyday like,"I just don't have enough time in the day to get things done." When you ask a friend how they are doing they exclaim (often with a huge sigh), " Busy. Overwhelmed. I need a vacation!"
Why don't I feel the same way? Isn't my list of duties and activities as long as anyone else's?
- I Blog daily( at least this month)
- I build and manage several websites a month.
- Up until recently I taught cooking classes to preteens once a week.
- Menawa and Brigid, my two cats, need love, feeding and attention.
- My 20yr. old son, who lives on his own, still needs my love and energy.
- I live with my partner(the testosterone filled one) and maintain a relationship.
- Running my own business calls for working 6-10 hours a day, plus at least a couple of hours on the days I choose to take off.
- I work on non profit strategy.
- I write grants.
- I have volunteer commitments to 3 non profits.
- I cook dinner 6 out of 7 days a week from scratch.
- I find the time to do copious tenant's rights research and act on it.
Why don't I feel overwhelmed?
Glad you asked, because I have a theory. Shortly after I realized I don't feel like I am spread too thin, I thought back to a time that I DID feel that way. My son was 5. I was going to college full time (until 1pm), working part time as youth coordinator at a health center (2-6PM) and then working as a personal care attendant evenings (7-9PM). That was tough. There wasn't even enough of me left to spread on a piece of melba toast!
Although I did that for two years, it was not until I got involved as a Co-chair of the African American Cultural group on campus that some of the stress was released. What? How did more responsibility releave your stress? Because, it fullfilled my spirit.
So, what are you trying to say here?
Many years ago I made a conscious decision that I would not say yes to any volunteer or paid job that did not feed my soul. Since I was blessed to find my "calling" in my early twenties, non profit work, that has been easier for me to do than it may be for some.
But, now that I have left the 9 to 5 world and hope to make it on my own, I have been able to pull together a multi-faceted consulting business and volunteer life that has little drag on me. From me to you, here are a few of my key strategies for having enough of me to spread on the whole loaf and a bunch left over.
- Each and every website I build is for a person, cause or organization that I care about.
- Each volunteer gig I take on is for a cause that sits in the core of who I am.
- Before I say "yes" to any activity I take conscious note of whether it serves my core ethics and purpose.
- Every few months I take inventory of all of the things I am involved in and gently let go of the ones that do not serve me. They are usually the same activities that I procrastinate on.
- My spiritual path is one that is not "in your face" but sits at the center of who I am, how I treat people, what I put in my body, and how I make decisions. It informs my every waking moment on a cellular level. I hope your's does too.
- Look for the blessings in everyday events. If I had a penny for every time a random little kid smiled at me or a butterfly brushed near my face, I would be rich!
The effect of these "keys" is that when a real crisis occurs I can stay calm and look at it from a distance. When a new challenge is presented I have space to bring it into the fold and learn and grow. Close friends tell me they don't understand how I seem so calm in a storm. This is how.
Bottom line: If we fill our lives with stuff to do without looking at whether that stuff reflects who we are and how we wish to be, we risk losing ourselves. Once these strategies are put into practice they become a part of you and you won't even realize you are doing them. My wish is that each of you reading this can take inventory of the "stuff" you do and whittle it down to just DOING YOU!
2011 Wordcount Blogathon Day 2
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