Monday, May 18, 2015

Overscheduled and Overwrought

I need to learn how to say no. Not so much to chores - I have no problem saying no to that kind of thing. No, I need to learn how to say no to fun things and do the things that must be done or at least stay home and rest. But it's so hard.

If my friend wants to meet for cocktails after work,how can I say no?
If the fella wants to go to a play or a ballgame or a movie or an event, how could I turn that down?
If Kelsey wants to meet for dinner or go shopping,  you know I can't tell my baby no thanks, right?

And yet, I find that there are times in my life when I feel so overscheduled that I'm overwrought and worn down. That's when I get sick. That's when I get a migraine. That's when my heart beats fast, and I have anxiety. That's when I don't sleep well, when my stomach gives me trouble, when I'm extra irritable. Being overscheduled affects my physical and mental well-being. I know this, but it's hard to put the changes into action that are needed.

Part of what creates this sense of overscheduling is my very busy work calendar. Yes, I teach high school full-time in a traditional brick and mortar school. What you might not know is that I also teach ESS (after school tutoring) two afternoons a week, an adult night class (for students who didn't graduate on time) one evening a week, an online class (for students who don't attend traditional school) for which I have appointments/conferences twice a week, and a CEPT program class (as an adjunct faculty member at WKU) two days per week. That's an awfully busy schedule.  Don't forget the time I spend in faculty meetings and department meetings, the grading that sometimes has to come home with me, the planning I need to do for lessons, and the constant communication expectations with parents and students. Once my work obligations have been met, there's still a lot to do. (If you've ever wondered how I get to do the fun things I get to do on a public school teacher's salary, my crazy extra work schedule is your answer.)

While scrapbooking is still just a hobby of mine, I'm also working to transition a bit more into the business side of things. The couple of hours I spend weekly on my blog is evidence of that as is the twice a month minimum that I meet up with Tracie in order to tape our podcast. Sure, we have a great time when we're together and usually enjoy a nice dinner out, but it's work to prepare and make the podcast happen. If you add into that the time I need to actually try to be creative and scrapbook, you can see that there are lots of pulls on my time.

What about the fella? Relationships involve time and work, and I sometimes worry that he thinks he doesn't get enough attention. I want to be a good girlfriend, a fun one, but sometimes I'm so dang tired that I think I could fall asleep on the couch in the middle of House of Cards. I love to go places with him and do fun things, but inside I sometimes feel whiny because I didn't get enough sleep or have so much that I know I should be doing instead of just having fun or relaxing with him. He has some things that are about to take up quite a bit more of his time too, though, so I guess that will all even out a bit. I try not to borrow trouble, but being overscheduled sometimes feeds into a spiraling sense of doom.

Beyond jobs and hobbies and relationships, I have the same obligations that so many of you have - my house gets dirty and cluttered, my yard has to be wrangled into submission regularly, my dogs need attention, the laundry gets away from me, groceries need to be bought, appointments have to be scheduled and attended, bills have to be paid. I'm not telling y'all anything you don't already know, but it starts to feel a bit overwhelming if I dwell on it all too much.

Silly me - I also want time to sleep late on the weekends, rock on the patio, read a book or magazine for pleasure, work on another kind of crafty project, watch television with the fella, and maybe just meditate. I want to have time to meet Kelsey and chat or enjoy a long phone call with one of my besties or hang out and surf Pinterest for a couple of hours. (How in the world did I ever manage to raise a child and take care of a husband? I'm exhausted just thinking about it.) I want to be able to spend the evening with the fella and not need a list or my iPad to deal with something I didn't finish earlier. I want to be fully present in my moments of fun. Sometimes it feels like I overschedule myself to the point that the fun things aren't possible or I feel guilty about them.

In the wintertime, I feel less guilty about the days I stay home and putter around in my pajamas. For some reason, the spring and summer don't work the same way for me because there's so much I could be doing outside in the gorgeous weather. I'm sure I feel this way partly because of the extra hustle and bustle that surrounds the end of the school year and the planning of a big trip, but I'm really hoping that my time abroad this summer allows me to be less scheduled and more relaxed. After all, y'all won't be able to track me down quite so easily with a few thousand miles and a seven hour time difference! Lol!

What do you do to keep from feeling overscheduled and overwrought? Maybe I need some of your pointers. :)


  1. Well, you just succeeded in exhausting me. :-)

    I get to feeling that way too. I tend to take on far too many volunteering assignments and crafty type projects for friends. My "one little word" for last year was 'balance'. (I don't do the OLW project but do like to choose a word). Learning how to say no to friends is really, really hard but now that I do, I am far less frazzled.

  2. Tiffany, your schedule IS crazy busy and I have no idea how you do it!!! I've been amazed at all the scrapbooking you get done along with the podcast just having a full-time job, not to mention all those other things!! It's no wonder you get overwhelmed - I do, too, and I only work part-time, scrapbook way less than you and don't blog or podcast! You really do a great job and seem to have not only a busy life but a fulfilling one. I'm so excited for you to have this trip to Paris and YOU time!!!

  3. Just say no sista-friend! I tell you all the time you have too much fun. LOL!!!!