Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy. When Is Too Much Too Much?

Juggling a busy schedule can drive you nuts. Everyone seems to have so much to do that free time is a limited resource. A fast paced life can at times be thrilling, and yet simultaneously overwhelming.

I enjoy the days when I go from meeting to meeting and complete successive projects. Checking off the "to do's" on my ever growing list engulfs me with personal pride. The clock seems to stand still while at the same time the hours pass instantaneously. I feel like Superman. Everything I touch turns to gold in a Midas like manner and I thrive on the ability to successfully navigate and achieve so many activities at one time.

Yet in a parallel universe I feel the pressure. I think this is common to most active professionals. We are junkies for the "busy", but long to have that "free time" that seems to populate media advertisements for "the good life".

I had a free hour today between two speeches I was giving in Austin (one for a non-profit and the other for a law firm). Part of me wished to sit in a park alongside the lake and just stare out at the water, but it is rainy and humid. The other side of my brain screamed; "Ahhhh, look at all the emails in your in inbox, and there is so many projects due at work, oh, and you have not blogged in a few days.... Oh gosh, and the new book needs my attention, etc..."

Alas, I am sitting here doing work, calling the office, writing this blog post and catching up on emails and other stuff that needs to get done. I philosophically understand that this is my choice, as none of these things NEEDED to be done right this moment. I wonder if the weatherman had provided me with a "Chamber of Commerce Day" if I would have found my butt on a park bench enjoying some solitude. Probably not, I would probably be doing just what I am doing at this very minute.

None of this post is about complaining. I enjoy all that I do in my life. I am writing this more because I know that I am not alone in this feeling of enjoying a demanding professional and personal schedule, while still longing to have that "down-time". I think it is part of our culture to desire these in the same space. We want both at once (which is not possible). This is "wanting my cake and eating it too".

I like where I am right now in my life. I am surrounded by good people who make a difference and I am challenged to grow personally and professionally. I just desire that I could invent the 26 hours day, and get by on five hours of sleep. That would provide me with five extra hours in each day, which would be just about right for me to excel in my quest to be healthy, wealthy and wise!

Have A Great Day



Aruni said...

Great post Thom and so true. It is hard for us to really do what we perceive as 'nothing' but in reality can really recharge us.

Even if we had 2-5 extra hours in the day, we would fill them and then wish for more hours in the day.

We all strive for something but often we don't realize when we have arrived and learn how to enjoy it. :-)

Tom Magness said...

I'm with you, Thom. I have recently had to "unbusy myself" by taking some things OFF of my calendar. My busy-ness was coming at the expense of my priorities -- at work and at home. Sometimes we do have to take that "Chamber of Commerce Day" and catch our breath. Then it is back into the fight! Hooah! TM

Mongezi Mtati said...

Someitmes it seems leisure time is such a liability, but we need it to recreate for the buzz we enjoy.

. . . I must say I was anticipating that you'd say you went to the park and fed some ducks.

James T. Parsons said...

I think if you, Tom Magness and I are all finding that ... ok, we are human after all and any attempt to be Supermen for too long catches up to us at some point ... well, we need to pay attention. With me, it was ending up in the ER last week and having to be admitted for a health issue for several days. I am still half-speed.

In the aftermath, [which occurs when the math of the hours in our days clearly are not adding up (thus "after math")], I realized I also needed to cut some things and prioritize. I have diminished some leadership in areas, and involvement in others - and trying to focus on the few priorities I have assessed.

Hum, I guess we all are junkies for connecting - and sometimes you just have to take a vacation from those tendencies! Hope you are able to find some down time soon - and enjoy!