Thursday, June 24, 2010

Too much or not enough?

I spent the better part of the day today contemplating whether I could work harder and be more productive at my job and do more things outside of my job. Not exclusively though - I was working, etc. while I did this.

The problem is that on a day-to-day, long-term, looking-in-my-daytimer-to-try-to-fit-something-else-in basis, I feel like I'm busy. I feel as though I don't have time to cram four more hours of volunteering into my schedule or work for 2-3 hours a day on volunteering from home.

Alternately, I feel - especially when listening to other people/looking at their schedules - that I am not doing enough. I have time to read (though not nearly as much as I used to and mainly while waiting for things to start or eating a meal or on the bus/in the car (but not when I'm driving)), I have time to blog, I have time to visit my grandparents after church, I have time to nap when I'm dead-tired, etc.

In the same vein, I work when I'm at work. I don't stand around talking - if I am roped into a conversation I attempt to work at the same time and feel guilty/uncomfortable until back doing something that I guarantee I should be getting paid for. I don't take my breaks (at the clinic) or wait until forced (restaurant). Unless I am freaking out in the moments it takes to organize my thoughts enough to figure out what I am doing/what to do next, I am working. BUT. I am not running ragged every second. I can breathe. I sometimes complete more at work than other days. This may be related to the busyness of the day or number of patients/customers, but my immediate conclusion if I don't do as much as I've done other days is that I was/am being lazy.

Basically, my (il)logic refrain of thoughts tends to be along the following lines:
"There are spaces in my schedule, therefore I am not busy and should be doing more."
"I didn't complete as much work today as I hoped/know I am capable of on the slowest days, therefore I am not working hard enough."
"Someone else completed a job that I usually do, therefore I am being lazy and slow and need to hurry up."
And so forth, ad nauseum.

So my logical attempted thought for the day is this:
-Unscheduled time is needed for certain things. I can eat while working/volunteer. I cannot sleep or prepare for things that occur in scheduled hours or do homework while working/volunteering.
-It is not necessary to race around frantically all day trying to do the jobs of three people. That is why I have co-workers.

It feels logical applied to others, but in the ridiculous world of my brain, all I can think is "Yeah, like I believe any of that in relation to my self - now stop wasting time and do something productive!".

Agh. Do any of you feel like this? Until later...


  1. Oh yes-I know this struggle well!! I still struggle to incorporate non functional hobbies into my life (like things beyond exercise to meet my "health needs," friend time to meet my "social needs"--what about my fun needs?!!) but remember that the stuff you to do to restore honor and beauty into your life (for me-reading, spending time outside or by the water, going to the beach, family time) is the life-giving stuff...the stuff that makes you feel stressed out is not. I don't know if that is helpful at all but that's what I remind myself when I try to figure out how to spend my time.

  2. I'm like this too! Constantly trying to do more, more, more. And unless you crash into bed at the end of the day with zero energy left, it feels like should have done more. But I know that's the perfectionist streak in me that's speaking. And the other things that streak has caused- pain, crying, food anxiety, depression etc- really haven't been great. So I make conscious decisions NOT to listen. Like a defiant child, you sometimes just have to sit down and do nothing. Don't clean the mess on your desk just because you have five minutes to spare. Don't run errands any chance you get. Learn to sit with the quiet, relaxed moment. I'm bad at it, but getting better. And each time I do less than 100%, I enjoy having beaten the perfectionism a little:) xxx

  3. Thanks guys. I know that this is the advice I'd give to myself if I were on the outside looking in, but knowing it and doing it are (obviously) two different things. The ironic thing is, the people who tell me to slow down and do less tend to be just as overloaded with commitments. But I like the idea of defiance. Maybe if I treat this like another challenge, it will feel emotionally easier to do.