On one of our office bulletin boards is a post card that states: “I LOVE deadlines! I love the WHOOSING noise that is made as they go flying by!” At this deadline-crazy time of year, I think of this post card often. Other times of the year I may laugh about it; but now I cringe as deadlines approach. I know you can sympathize with your budget deadlines, agenda meetings, pre-agenda meetings, public notice requirements…it is a never-ending list!
I remember as a student that my calendar had semester deadlines, final exam schedules and dates that seemed to loom far off in the distance; today I live in fifteen-minute increments. I used to separate the to-do list from the calendar, but now it is one and the same. I don’t know that it is any better for my friends and family who have retired–their calendars look as packed as mine.
Magazine columns remind me to make appointments with myself for working out, for stress breaks, for taking time to reflect and plan–and while those are great ideas, the reflecting time and ‘self’ time don’t often occur. I try to reflect on each day before I fall asleep, but that doesn’t always work. In a world of over 100 emails per day, texts, phone calls and meetings, it seems the calendar becomes something to blame, as though it were a person. The old saying, ‘no one can take advantage of you without your permission’ may be true, but when it comes to calendars it does not help. I realize I’m the problem when it comes to my calendar–failing to properly plan. I now imagine making appointments with myself just to sit quietly and think, and plan, and strategize–and I realize that many of you are already doing this in your professional life.
Planning to daydream is as important as a conference call if that is what it takes to get one’s job done! Many of you have inspired me with your time management, juggling and coping skills–just wanted to pass along my thanks for doing so. Most days the mental picture of the gerbil running on the endless wheel is a good description of my day; I’m trying to block that image and focus instead on the distance runner who paces herself, endures and finishes the race.