Time Crunch


    Dear Readers,

    As a busy working mom involved in lots of community projects and still trying to have a social life and sleep occasionally, I'm struggling to prioritize my time and get to everything. I was trying to imagine what kind of advice someone would give me, or alternatively, what kind of advice I would give someone like me. So as I work to answer my own question, hopefully it will be helpful to you, too!

    The plain fact is that it's impossible to get everything done. I probably never could do everything, but now, with a baby and the ugly face of sleep deprivation everywhere I turn, the reality is that I have to scale back my own expectations. I don't have to cut back on the things I care about or the friends I value, but I do have to cut back on the amount I expect to accomplish every day, the hours I keep and, even, the quality of what I'm able to produce.

    There are lots of self-help resources (not that I take the time to look at any of them) about prioritizing time and setting reasonable goals. Some of it happens naturally, as in, "I have to go pick up the baby, so I guess I'm done for the day." In the midst of trying to be everything to everyone, maintaining social and professional responsibilities and functioning on fewer hours of sleep than ever before, I know I'm not counting "chilling out" as a priority. However, making space for myself — even through something relatively mundane like taking a walk alone, reading a novel in a quiet room or making dinner — puts me in a better mental state to get back to the emails or the laundry or whatever.

    An empowering part of calculating priorities is also admitting that sometimes, some things take precedence over others. So, in the spirit of taking my own advice seriously, I'm going to end here. This is shorter than my columns usually are, and I wrote it a lot faster — but I have to go pick up the baby, so I guess I'm done for the day.

    Be well,