Thursday, November 5, 2009

Slow Down? Or Speed Up?

Sometimes I feel like a hamster on a wheel, spinning each day rapidly under my feet: there goes Monday, Tuesday, on to Wednesday, whoa, Thursday already, how did that happen?

My job lends itself to the sensation of rushing time. As a weekly newspaper employee, I am constantly focused on forward propulsion. I work from home on Mondays, making phone calls and conducting interviews. On Tuesdays, I hit the ground hard at the office, cleaning up last week's mess, and beginning the physical layout of the paper. By Wednesday, I am juggling interviews, story writing, layout, and a thousand other tasks, trying to get everything done by the end of the night so we can "put the paper to bed." Thursday I wake up late and bleary-eyed, spent from the 15+ hour deadline day.

Thursday through Sunday is my own time, four days that I feel lucky to have. But why, then, do those days rush by almost as quickly as the three action-packed "work" days? I try to fit it all in, but it seems I am always running out of hours of the day.

I remind myself that it is a luxury problem to have so many things that I love to do, that I don't have enough time for them all. But somehow, that doesn't make the situation any more liveable; it just makes me feel whiney.

I tend to go full speed ahead for several weeks, cramming as much as I can in, and then I crash, cancelling appointments, sleeping for 12 hours straight, holing up in my house for two or three days without emerging.

Pacing is not something that has ever come easy for me. I jump in, swim until exhausted, and then barely make it back safely to the shore. I guess what I struggle with most is feeling like if I just managed my time better, I could keep doing everything, not have to give up anything, and wouldn't feel completely wasted every night as I sink into bed.

When I watch other people in my life manage much more demanding schedules with seeming ease, it doesn't help. Then I just feel, once again, like somehow I didn't get the same rulebook, or the proper coaching, something. Somehow, it always turns into a big ball of confusion, leaving me wondering if the problem is learning how to slow down, or figuring out how to speed up.

Any great wisdom out there?


  1. I'm afraid I don't have any wisdom to share, but I can commiserate. I do the exact same thing - run, run, run, run, CRASH. I don't mind the bipolar existence, but I would like to not be shocked every time the crash happens. It's as if I hadn't already done it four thousand times before. So that's my task - anticipate the crash. (I never know exactly when it will happen, but I can at least remember that it will.)

  2. Try reading "The One Who Is Not busy" by Darlene Cohen. It addresses this problem directly by offering practices in the focusing realm. You can be busy and still feel "not busy." -- darlene

  3. Deonne, thanks for the commiseration! At least I have good company. I think anticipating the crash is that crucial piece of sellf knowledge - until we have that, there's no possibility of change. So that's the first step, I guess.

    Darlene, thanks for the book recommendation. I have read your "Turning Suffering Inside Out," which I loved. I purchased a copy of "The One Who Is Not Busy" some time ago, but it's been sitting on my shelf...But this evening after reading your comment I pulled it out - it's going directly to my nightstand. I'm looking forward to your insights...