Overstretched: on being busy

‘Why do I do it?’ she wailed, clutching her head. ‘Why do I keep taking on more projects than I can possibly do?’

This, dear reader, is me right now. Taking on too many things is a persistent failing of mine, but this is the first time that I’ve really felt it with regard to writing.

The ‘oh no’ feeling hit me last Friday, when a long-awaited email arrived, informing me of the subject and deadline for the next round of a short-story competition. ‘Yes! It’s finally here!’ I thought, followed by ‘But what about everything else?’

Last week I did a bit of a progress review, in the course of which I mentioned a couple of new projects. Since then I’ve had another idea which is time-critical, and the actual or self-imposed deadlines for all these things, plus two more things that I really want to submit entries to, are all in October; three are next week. I’ve also told myself that I want to finish the whole first draft of the linked short-story project (which is now at the halfway point or thereabouts) before the half-term break starts on 24 October. Some of the projects require research, and for some I need to learn new skills. Plus the kids have lots going on over the next few weeks, which involves ferrying around, dropping off, and general mayhem.

So I did what any sensible person would do. I sat down on Monday morning, made a list of priorities in order of importance, and wrote down the steps I needed to do for each. With regret, I crossed one item off the bottom of the list, as it would take too long and the deadline was too close. And then I joined a group on social media which is producing a collection of Hallowe’en drabbles.

WHYYYYYYYY?

On one hand, I do feel at bit pushed. On the other, I’m really enjoying being busy. I know which deadlines are non-negotiable, and which can slip a bit. At the moment, I’m at the draft phase for all the projects, so the pressure isn’t too bad, and the deadlines for the smaller projects fall first, which will help to clear the decks a bit.

Maybe I’m relying a little too much on Parkinson’s Law: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. But you know what? I want to do ALL the things on my list. If I achieve 75% of it, that will still be pretty good. Wish me luck. Oh, and I’m thinking about doing NaNoWriMo next month for the first time. If that doesn’t teach me better time management, nothing will.


The featured image is Slinky Toy by Andy Rogers, and it is shared under Creative Commons license 2.0.

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2 thoughts on “Overstretched: on being busy

  1. This sounds like me. I seem totally incapable of sayibg “no I can’t fit that into my life”. I write myself a list every day of those things I should do, those I want to do and finally a third and less important those things I would like to do if there is still time.

    Needless to say the list is rather long and is never completed. I do feel frustrated when I can’t get enough done but as you say its better to be busy Liz. You do exceptionally well and it is wonderful to see your dedication to writing which for me at present is on the back burner whilst I try and get everything else done.

    Keep up the struggle and don’t knock yourself if some things have to slip through the net

    Liked by 1 person

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