Photo by batintherain
With the new year, I was struggling with a schedule overload again. After purging commitments back in early fall, I was shocked to see how everything had piled up again.
One recent Saturday afternoon, my world changed. A home project turned into an extended hospital stay for my husband. Not having any family locally, I was left to juggle keeping our child’s schedule as normal as possible, while spending as much time as possible at the hospital. Needless to say, my output ground to a halt. I was managing to get us bathed, clothed and fed (thanks to the generosity of many friends who cooked), and that was about it.
Crisis over, now what?
Even though the crisis is over, I am still not operating back where I would have. My husband is home and is making rapid progress, but the stress of his care, along with shouldering all responsibilities has left me exhausted. I realized that while I cannot jettison all responsibilities, I still need to cut back to give all of us time to recover.
And perhaps find a way out of the overload I had been feeling.
Getting to minimum
But what is the minimum?
Appointments and meetings
The first thing I did was cut back appointments and meetings. This made me think: how necessary were these meetings to begin with? I have come to realize that two of my committee meetings are a complete waste of my time. While I am committed in theory to the causes, they didn’t make the cut. Perhaps these can stay off the schedule permanently.
The next thing I did was delegate where things needed to be handled but not necessarily by me. Some of these things I hadn’t delegated because it was easier to do them myself than to set up access. But that stopped. I am now looking at things I do that could be delegated effectively to lighten my load. I scorned the idea of outsourcing when I read about it in a recent best-seller, but I am re-thinking the concept.
One point of contact
The phone calls and emails quickly became overwhelming. I kept four people up to date: one family, one neighbor, one co-worker and one church member. I asked them to actively let people know what was going on. That cut down on the amount of explaining I was having to do. I generally enjoy contact with people, but I think I need to make more use of our home website for information dissemination in general.
Put all projects on hold except due dates
I have a lot of things cooking in my projects list right now. During the crisis, though, everything got put on hold unless it had an externally-enforced due date (such as business license renewal). This has caused me to re-examine all the projects I have going, and most of them went back on the someday/maybe list.
Cut back on household activities
One of the things people do around here when there is a crisis is they feed the family. I’ve been on the giving end of this before, but never the receiving. It has lightened my load immensely to not have to worry about dinner. I pull something out of the freezer, add veggies and/or a salad, and we’re done. I’ve been thinking about how to manage this during non-crisis time, and I have come to the conclusion with a little bit of planning and work, I can stock up on dinners myself. There are plenty of freezer cooking sites, as I talked about in [link], but I need to commit to this.
Staying at minimum
I would hate anyone to minimize what they are doing by going through what I have been through. However, it will take my focus and concentration to keep me at this state. I enjoy having free evenings where I am not frantically working on something; where I have time to enjoy a book or crafting.