Reprioritizing the busy work

It seems that no matter how much I try to streamline my life and keep things simple, I somehow find myself practically meeting myself in the driveway just coming and going.  It’s not that life is hard but that there seems to be a lot going on. For a semi-retired woman who is not working a lot, I surprise myself with how little I am home.

Today I was supposed to start training to become a tutor for Literacy for Life. I have been thinking about volunteering, and since I love to read, I thought that helping others learn to read would be a good thing. I signed up months ago, and finally today at 1:00 the training would start. So at 8:30 a.m. I notified the coordinator that I was postponing my involvement for a while. I felt bad, but the weight of the idea of doing it was too heavy. The program wants a commitment of 1 hour a week for 1 year. That doesn’t include travel time, preparation time, reading, paperwork, phone calls, or anything else. I know a few people who are saying Yes to everything; I’m learning how to say No.

In fact, I belong to three professional organizations right now, and a fourth if I pay my dues which are overdue. One of these is Toastmasters, which I have been a member of since 1990. I just completed a one-year term as president of my club on June 30. I figured that was good timing for me to accept an invitation to become Membership Chair of the Virginia Chapter of the National Speakers Association. I didn’t know at the time, though, that Toastmasters would be rolling out its new Pathways educational program and would be needing “guides” for about 6-9 months. Guess who applied to be a guide? Yeppers, that would be me. And of course, I’m still Immediate Past President of my club, which keeps me on the board for one more year.

Then there are the networking and business-building groups I have joined.  Solopreneur Success Connection, my bank’s Power Women group, and e-Women Networking (which has been inactive but now has a new director, so maybe something will happen) are three women-centric organizations. I am stalling about joining the Peninsula Women’s Network.  There is also the Unread Book Club I just went to for the first time. As it sounds, you don’t read the (business-related) book unless you are the one who is doing the “report” for the month to tell the others about it and make a recommendation yea/nay for others to consider reading.  Umm, yeah, I agreed to do the September book. (Sounds fun, though, doesn’t it?!?)  And then there is the Cobbler’s Collective, a local group of diverse small business owners who get together every Thursday morning to talk about issues they are facing and to seek or share some perspective or ideas, or help.

And let’s not forget the personal groups or events that I want to make time for: my neighborhood ladies go to lunch once a month, but that is going to conflict with the once-a-month Unread Book Club. So we’ll see…  And I play Bunco once a month in my neighborhood. I have recently been invited to join a group of other semi-retired folks who fell into consulting work and have coffee downtown almost every morning at 8:00 a.m. Yeah, I have only been to one of those so far.

It’s time to evaluate my priorities again, or I won’t have any time left for afternoon naps,  lazy morning phone calls with distant friends,  long lunches at a new restaurant, bargain hunting at the Habitat ReStore, camping during the week, reading, and organizing and reorganization and other sprucing up that keeps my house my home. Never mind things like getting the oil changed in the car, getting the annual state vehicle inspection done (both due now!), balancing my checkbook, walking the dog, getting groceries, etc.

Most importantly, though (get ready – it’s a cliffhanger!), I have recently made a commitment to myself to engage in some serious personal development. In May I joined Al Anon and have been attending meetings about twice a week, albeit somewhat irregularly until now due to travel. In July I also joined Adult Children of Alcoholics, and that also is twice a week right now but will drop to once a week maybe after a particular “introduction” program I’m doing. I’m tired of feeling unsettled and unsure, believe it or not. Dysfunction is dysfunction, regardless of how or why it originated, and I’m ready to find answers to questions I don’t even know how to ask. You can expect to hear more about my continuing transformation as time goes on.

Something’s gotta give, as they say.  I don’t know yet how it will play out, but changes are a’comin’.  And since I’m a believer in “physical clutter office closetmakes for mental clutter,” today I invested about 5 hours in retrofitting the closet in my office and rearranging a few other things so I’ll have clean space in which to do the workbooks and other assignments, which ultimately should help my revenue-generating work as well. And yes, I still do some work for pay.  I have a 90-minute workshop coming up next month, among other things….lots of other things, as you can tell.

Til next time, I’m enjoying the new look of my office, basking in the security of knowing I made a good decision and giving myself a pat on the back for the hard labor of moving and lifting and schlepping things around and around this afternoon.

deskOh, yeah, and if any of my kids read this, please let the grandkids know that Grandma is interested in some artwork for the wall in her office now that I can actually see the wall!  Nikos’ painting looks a little lonely all by itself…



  1. Wow! You are amazing! But I would agree that you’ve got too much on your plate and something’s got to give. Sounds like you’ve decided on a good path for helping you sort that out. BTW, I’m interested in volunteering for Literacy for Life, too, but I think I’m at least a year away from that one. Gotta get some stuff off my plate, too!

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