Monday, February 8, 2010

Just saying no

It's a good thing I realized I was getting in over my head in terms of overscheduling myself--I wound up getting a huge project dropped in my lap that took up two full days of last week and most of today. Now I'm trying to catch up with everything else that fell to the wayside.
On my previous post complaining about how I've overscheduled myself, Laura said she'd be interested in how I plan to combat that--so here's how I'm doing it.
1. Picking and choosing. I'm in five book clubs, and I like all of them for different reasons. Four of them meet once a month, and one meets every other week--that's at least six books per month that I have to read, not including anything for work or pleasure. I don't like to go to meetings if I haven't read the book, because it's difficult enough to get a reading group to stay on topic of discussing the book for more than half an hour or forty-five minutes, so I don't want to go and not contribute, or pull that "Oh, no, don't talk about the end! I haven't read it!" I had just as much time as everyone else, so if I haven't read the book, I don't go to the meeting. For this month, I have pre-emptively decided I'm only going to one book club, so I have taken the other books off this month's to-do list and the meetings off my calendar.
2. Delaying! I have a performance opportunity towards the end of the month--I'd like to do it, but I need to develop and practice my own choreography, which takes time. I don't have to give an answer on this until much closer to the date, so I'm just delaying the decision. If it turns out that I don't have any time to practice, I won't perform and there's no pressure because I didn't say I would. Also, normally I like to get my taxes done by Valentine's Day. I am missing some paperwork, but rather than stressing out and trying to track it down this month, I am delaying this until March. If it shows up and I have time to do it, cool. If not, no sweat.
3. Just say no. I've been trying to actively turn down any non-essential invitations or obligations for the rest of the month. Some things are unavoidable--a friend's moving-away party is not something that can be made up next month, so I'll be going to that. But "just catching up" lunches, drinks or whatever--that stuff can wait until I have some breathing room.
4. Get organized. Peanut and I did a meal plan for last week that worked very well. Last Sunday, we went shopping and added reminders to our calendars of what we were having when and what we needed to pick up fresh. The rest of the week went very smoothly (until Friday when we both got incredibly lazy and agreed to do takeout rather than create a three-dish meal). We didn't have time to do that this weekend, but we did plan the first few meals so we don't have to think about it until tomorrow, when we'll (hopefully) do a plan for the rest of the week. I'm also being very careful to make notes about everything--anything I promised to do at work, deadlines for homework, etc. I know that my mind is too full to keep track of this stuff, so I'm putting it on paper so I don't have to worry about it--this includes stuff that goes on a very eventual to-do list, like "fill out Couchsurfing profile"--no priority there, but I wrote it down so it's not on my mind.
5. Take care of myself. I've been making sure to get enough sleep, drink enough water, and do some yoga when I feel like it (no pressure!) to relieve the tension that builds up in my back when I'm under stress. I'm also making sure to have cuddle-time with Peanut--other things might be stressful and urgent, but let's not forget what's really important here!


  1. Thanks for answering my question! It looks like you have a great plan... especially that you included Peanut in it. My guy keeps telling me that I need to stop trying to fill every moment on my calendar, but it's just so hard!

    I can't wait to hear how the plan goes :-) I might need to make a similar one for myself...

  2. great list. overcramming our calendars steal time form our loved ones. have fun!

  3. Lazy weekends are the best. I seem to recover on sleep, homework, and sanity when I have nothing planned.

    If I have too many weekends where I haven't "said no," things just get way too hectic and strung together.

    Good luck!

  4. I'm really happy for you. You seem to have been combating this "overextension" problem for a while. I've always been an advocate of me time. Just make sure there is enough time for you to do the things that you want to do. Everything else, can fall into place!


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