Right now I’m experiencing a bad case of the Shoulds. I have so many things pulling me in so many directions. I feel like, in any given day, I should be working full time, changing the world, taking care of myself, and writing. Oh, and social distancing. Oh, and trying to see friends because I’m going a lil cuckoo from the social distancing.
Needless to say, I can’t do everything every day. I know this, but the Shoulds keep wracking my system. Especially because we’re living through history and I’m SO HYPER ABOUT IT.
So I’m trying to remind myself what I learned paying off my debt, which I accomplished this month (HUZZAH!). I’d never really budgeted before, and doing so was eye-opening, especially as I realized how I was just as inexperienced with budgeting my time and energy as I was my money.
After some slightly manic days this week in which I spun like a top, I’m trying to refocus, prioritize, and budget. I can do everything! I can be informed. I can engage with my civic responsibilities. I can get my work done. I can nurture my creativity. I just can’t do it all at once. Some days I can do more, some days less. Some days I have to devote myself to one thing, in order to have the rest of the week to do other things. Some days I have to unplug entirely, and read a book and take a bath, because I’m not gonna do anything well until I rest for a minute.
I’m finding that I need to be less rigid in my schedule, even as I put more energy into identifying and achieving my priorities for a day or week or a month. This means my schedule can shift with my priorities, so I can go to a protest I just found out about, or front load my work stuff in one week so my Fridays are free to write, or collapse in a heap for a few hours a day between Zoom trainings, so I’m fresh for each one.
If you’re also struggling, think of your time and energy just like you do your paycheck for this month. What do you have to spend your time and energy on? What do you want to spend it on? What do you need to be doing for your health? See all these goals as line items, to be budgeted. And the goal can’t be to do it all. Just like you can’t invent extra money in your paycheck, you can’t give yourself more energy and time. But you can make wise choices, knowing that each day/week/month can change, so you can spread yourself around better.
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