To me, being busy is overrated. So is multi-tasking, constantly being in-touch and Super-woman. I love the focus and simplicity of doing one thing well. I don’t think someone should send you a work-related email at 10pm at night and expect an immediate response. The 24 hour cycle of news, TV shows, and sound bites has the effect of making me feel less informed, less sure of what exactly it is I do know and don’t even get me started on Super-woman.
I love it when my phone doesn’t ring (unless, of course, it’s an agent). Five emails a day is enough to make me feel like someone loves me. When the phone rings too much, I start to feel too needed and I don’t like that. I like to be wanted, not needed (my children are the only exception to this rule.)
So about five years ago, I instituted what I call the 5 things rule, which basically means, all my activities and energy focus on no more than five main priorities on any given day. I am a wife and mother, so 3 of the things I do each day don’t change. My 5 things list usually goes like this (the order shifts based on what is practical and efficient):
1) Children (whatever they need, whatever they want that I can handle and that they have earned)
2) Family (this usually has to do with my husband and I and how we work together to meet our individual, couple and family needs)
3) Me and God (I make time for myself and God every day, because, if I don’t, I get really grumpy.)
4) Work (in this case – writing, trying to get my book published)
5) Some other thing – house work, favors to friends/family, the summer/winter switch, etc.
If anybody asks me to do something and both 4 and 5 are taken up, I say no. It’s as simple as that unless someone is dying. I just can’t handle more than that at this phase of my life. Every once and a while, I’ll try to push it and you can always tell. I either end up bitchy or depressed. I’m not proud of this fact, but it’s the truth - my body’s way of telling me I am off center. It used to make me feel bad to say “I can’t handle that right now” because I felt like I was admitting that I was lacking in some way. Now, I realize that being able to say “not now” when I really don’t have it to give preserves my sanity and that is a very good and very smart thing to preserve.
Maria Shriver once said that you can have everything you want, just not all at the same time. I thank God and her for putting those words in a place where I could read them and calibrate my life’s expectations to give me the best chance at leading a mostly happy existence. Here’s to your sanity and mine!
If you’re out there, thanks for reading!