A Quick Gripe Session…
…about time management.
perfect ideal weekend looks
something like this:
- Saturday morning: get up early to prep for and complete errands
- Saturday afternoon: cleaning and various other chores around the house, perhaps a nap if there’s time or the need
- Saturday evening: dinner and a quiet evening at home watching a movie while knitting or dinner out or some other fun social activity with friends or family
- Sunday morning: a bit of journaling before heading out to church
- Sunday afternoon: blogging and catching up on other computer work, perhaps a nap if there’s time and/or a need, a bit of reading before prepping dinner
- Sunday evening: getting ready for the week ahead – weekly planning, ironing clothes – and relaxing
The problem is, this weekend rarely—if ever—happens. Life gets in the way. Inevitably, something comes up that rearranges my entire weekend. And I allow for that—after all, what good is life if we strictly live by our own rules all of the time and never enjoy ourselves, never stray from our routines?
Usually, when something comes up, I rearrange accordingly. For example, yesterday I had to attend a birthday party from 11 am – 1 pm in the next town over, the town where I do all of my errands. While I prefer to get up early to get these errands accomplished, it didn’t make much sense to get up even earlier than I would have normally to get them finished with enough time to return home, put everything away, get ready for the party, and drive back out to where I had just come from. So I rearranged my schedule so that my errands came after the party.
The trouble with that, of course, is that almost nothing gets accomplished in the amount of time I think it will take. The party extended beyond the 1 pm end time. I didn’t leave there until 2 pm, which means that errands started even later. This isn’t a problem in and of itself, but I know that after noon, Target is one big nightmare of crowded aisles, carts that are nowhere to be found, lines longer than I care to wait on, and drivers stalking you and your parking spot. (I always manage to fool the drivers, however, because I prefer to park far away from the entrance, both to give myself just a little more exercise and because I refuse to spend time fighting for a parking space close to the door. It just amazes me how people spend so much time circling the parking lot, up and down the aisles just waiting for a spot a little closer; meanwhile, it would have taken them less time to park at the end of the row and walk to the door. But I digress.)
My grocery store is always a joy after noon, too – people leaving their carts in the middle of the aisle, ignoring you when you say excuse me just to eek by them as they ponder which type of pasta to buy. Yesterday was a triple joy since it was after noon. On Super Bowl weekend. With snow in the forecast.
See? I get cranky when I have to deal with large crowds. Shopping crowds, no less. Hence why I get up early on a Saturday to get the errands done. Trust me; it’s just better for everyone involved.
Anyway, by the time I got home from errands and cleaned up the kitchen, it was close to 5 pm. We had dinner plans for 6:30, which meant going on a bender to finish up random other chores, getting ready to leave, and getting out the door.
Sunday was no better. I went to church, but if I’m honest, I barely made it in time. I’m always rushing out the door for church. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to stay on schedule Sunday mornings. And of course, we have a ton of things going on at church right now, so I didn’t get home until close to 2 pm. Then I worked on some church things a little while longer. Right up until dinnertime, in fact. No blogging was done. I rushed through a quickie cleaning session. I planned for the week while watching the Super Bowl. (My hubby and I had a Super Bowl date, complete with homemade pulled pork—yummo!) I vaguely remember answering some emails.
This is why I never feel like I have a weekend. The best-laid plans to make my weekend run as smoothly as possible always get messed up somehow. And while I’m okay with slight changes here and there, it seems like everything happens at once. Got an all day Saturday event planned in New York City? Wouldn’t you know; it’s the same weekend that I happen to work that Sunday? Boom. My entire weekend—gone. It always happens like this. When I plan events, I try to plan them on weekends when nothing else is happening. But then something else creeps in and I’m done. I don’t know how people manage it all. Most times, I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water.
We’ve only just started February and already my April weekends are out of control. Granted, certain once-in-a-lifetime events are happening, which affects everything else. But that’s the way it seems to go. Always. These are events that I “have to” go to, events I want to go to. But they inevitably affect everything else, which makes me feel so out of control of my own time. Thus my being awake, thoughts of upcoming meetings and Super Bowl wins and the snow that is threatening to ruin a smooth morning commute swirling non-stop in my head, resulting in my writing this post at 1:36 am to get it all out of my mind and written down, the only way I can let it go and drift off to sleep.
Deep breaths. Deep breaths.
It will all work itself out; I have no doubt. I am constantly reminding myself of that. My favorite quote, which I only just recently found, is by Lao Tzu:
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”
This is a perfect quote for me because only in nature can I find calm and peace. And this quote reminds me that even by going at our own pace, we will still accomplish all that we need to, and what doesn’t get accomplished didn’t really “need” to be accomplished in the first place. It was only ever an added bonus, even from the start.
So, at the risk of sounding like Mr. Rogers, today’s lesson is this: Managing and planning our time only takes us so far. Life has other plans. And sometimes life derails the plans we so painstakingly put into place. The not-so-easy trick (for me anyway) is to adjust to those changes and let go of the rest. I do have a hard time letting go of my unfinished list, of guilt for not accomplishing what I set out to do, for not spending enough time with friends and family, enough time just being. It has not been an easy lesson for me—I know the steps the take, but putting it into practice is the challenge. But I am working on it, slowly, mindfully. And I do feel that I’m making small steps forward, even if by way of taking a few back, too.
But we all have to start somewhere, no?
And now, rest, dear mind. Rest…