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Sunday, September 20, 2009

If everyone has an inner amazing... Where's mine?

This week is about renewal.

It’s about getting back on track. It’s about reinvigoration. It’s about prioritizing and not letting opportunity pass me by.

I’ve been in such a rut lately that I feel like I’m productive if I get out of bed in the morning. I’m tired of hearing about people who are upbeat and incredible all the time. You know the type.

Not the go-getters. Those folks I can handle, with their endlessly positive attitudes, and I can do it without breaking my cynical stride. The ones I’m talking about are overachievers who don’t know they’re achieving in excess. They’re up at dawn, domestic goddess, amazing under pressure, do the impossible and save the world in my spare time kind of people.

Their productivity isn’t what bothers me. It’s the fact that they make it look easy. People with highly orchestrated but seemingly effortless lives make me feel like a colossal failure who can’t even cope with daily life. How can I possibly take on more?

I already spend 40-plus hours a week working in a high-stress job and the rest of my time is devoted to my house, my family, and my friends. Like everyone else my day flies by, and I feel like I don’t have a minute to spare. I’ve always made time and gotten things done, but I can’t tell you that I’ve been happy. Even with so many plates spinning above my head I had to add more.

So over the last several months, I’ve taken on numerous extracurricular activities and find myself overwhelmed but with a renewed sense of self. How can that be? It’s because the new additions are passions that I’ve neglected over the last few years. Picking them up again has made me remember parts of myself that I put away after college to become a jaded overworked adult.

That’s what you’re supposed to do, right? Find some happy medium between passion and survival. Well I refuse to do that anymore.

A few months ago I was inspired to change my life, to reshape it as the one I’d always hoped to be living one day. The foundation has been laid. I’ve started leaving work at the door when I walk out of the office. I don’t check my e-mail from home nearly as much and I’m learning not to panic ever time something falls through. Stress will not make me its bitch.

I finally started writing my novel. I created a personal blog and started a project blog with The Magazinista. I also befriended a rag-tag band of writers who’ve since come together to form a critique group with strict weekly deadlines. (Which, while appreciated, can make a girl lose sleep.)

The problem is time management. Twenty-four hours never seems like enough, and I still have to fit in eating and sleeping. Donna Reed could do it all and still have time to make dessert. Why can't I?

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I don’t make the most of my day. I do my best to accomplish as much as I can, but with life running interference it’s difficult.

I sleep in occasionally and I dawdle, wasting precious time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know there were better things I could do with those hours. Hell, even with 15 minutes.

I have to keep reminding myself that I am the master of my own destiny. Hours in my day are going unused and it’s up to me to take corrective action, so I spent the weekend getting my ducks in a row.

I’ve been getting my house in order because one of my critique partners, known as Paris because she recently adopted a rat dog, is coming to visit in a few weeks. We’ll be meeting for the first time and she needs a place to sleep. In addition to not disgusting my houseguest, the thorough cleaning will help me to focus on writing instead of household chores. I’ve also been trying to devote some time each day to writing in hopes of staying ahead of the novel critique group. (First chapter is due in about 18 hours.)

But squeezing all of my responsibilities and hobbies into my current schedule isn’t feasible. I need to make adjustments. This week I’ll be getting up earlier and making better use of the hours in my day. I’m going to plan, prepare and be effective in everything I do.

The music’s on, the TV’s off and I’m committed to changing my routine. Maybe one day I’ll sicken people with my productivity….

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