During my mid-week run today all I could think about was the fact that I needed to cut my run short so I could get home and get to work. I’ve designated Thursdays as my one day during the week when I have no appointments or commitments; it’s my writing day and completely sacred. After dropping the kids off at school, running was going to take an hour out of the six hours I have before I need to pick them up again. Was this really how I wanted to spend my time?
Then it occurred to me that I am in the midst of a road-block. My time management has gone down the toilet and I need to re-evaluate how I’m spending my time.
I’m consulting with a local high school on backstage theatre work, specifically Stage Management, in conjunction with their fall musical. In a former aspect of my life I was a professional stage hand. This week I was in the classroom twice and spoke with a small group of students interested in Stage Management. The first day I spoke briefly about calling the show (the actual act of calling technical cues during the performance). The rest of the time I discussed the act of management; time management, relationship management, and how to learn from interactions that don’t always go swimmingly.
My husband, Bill, has been hired by the same high school to be in charge of building a massive set. He’s in a state of overwhelm right now, wondering how it’s all going to get built in the six and a half hours he has allotted a crew to build every week, as well as wondering how he’s going to keep up with the fitness program his physical therapist designed for him, attend to his business as a computer consultant, be available to his kids and hang out with me every so often as well.
I’m noticing in my own life that writing has taken a back seat to all the other equally important things that I have going on in my life. Yesterday I met with a dear friend. We’re working on a memoir together and have been trying to do some writing on our own between the times that we see each other. He was frustrated with his lack of time to simply sit, reflect, and write. His life is full of family commitments, his job, and being available to other cancer patients that are at the beginning of their own treatments. Instead of reviewing what we had written in the past two weeks, we simply sat and wrote, side by side.
Where am I going with all this busy-ness? Well, it occurs to me that just this week I was talking to kids about management. I asked them to think about the road blocks that keep coming up in their lives and issues that keep rearing their ugly heads. Instead of getting frustrated by these things, I told them, take a step back and evaluate where you are and what YOU could do differently, instead of wishing things were different or that you had more time/money/different people to deal with. We all have the hand we’re dealt, and it’s up to us to either accept the situation at hand, or, if we truly don’t like it, we can suggest possibilities for a new course. The choice is ours.
In giving this advice to eager high school students, I realize that I need to heed it myself. I write this blog about my weekly Saturday morning runs to force myself to slow down with daily life and reflect on where I was, what I saw, how I felt, and what life was like AT THAT MOMENT. I choose to write about this particular moment in time because it is a constant in my life that has its own unique changes as time gently rolls by. If I can’t find the time in my life to reflect and write while the memories are fresh, then it seems to me that I need to do a little adjusting of my own to make room for that piece of living that feeds my soul.
Therefore, I am declaring Sunday morning to be my time to sit at the computer, in my pajamas, with a cup of tea. Because I don’t usually sleep in too much, I think taking three hours, from 6-9 AM, as my own is not only reasonable but easily accomplished.
Bill talked to his P.T. yesterday about his frustration in not being able to find the time to do his workouts. They talked about his schedule and decided there was time on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 3-4 PM for him to get to the gym, as well as on Sunday mornings. He can do his early morning runs on Monday, Wednesday and either Friday or Saturday, as time allows. He left his appointment feeling positive about taking care of his health and attending to his own personal needs, without sacrificing the time and energy he needs to devote to his jobs. Again, this was just a simple shift in perspective and time management.
That raises the question: what other things in our lives can be easily managed with a simple shift in perspective or time management? I’m not saying we need to work HARDER at anything; not at all. I’m absolutely advocating that we can all work a little SMARTER by taking a few moments to evaluate our situation and make some adjustments.