Monday, October 3, 2016

The Battle of Planning and Flexibility

Peggy Marco via Pixabay
My desire to be productive is interfering with my productivity.

Like most people, I wear many hats. Consequently, my head spins with the possibility of all the things I could be doing at any given moment.

I write. Not just blogs, but articles and books, too, and in order to keep doing that, I promote my work and seek new writing and publishing opportunities.

I teach. Outside of class, I do research and planning so that when I show up for class, I'm armed with something besides a bunch of empty PowerPoint slides and a smile. Oh yeah -- and I grade papers, too.

I sell Thirty-One Gifts. Running any kind of a business, whether it's direct sales or an entrepreneurial endeavor, requires time and attention.

Oh, and then there are those pesky household obligations like cooking and laundry and organizing and keeping the house from devolving into chaos. Kind of.

I know I'm not alone. Still, I find it ironic.

It's a tenet of time management -- and life, too -- that saying "yes" to one thing means saying "no" to another -- or a bunch of others. And so, being productive in one area inevitably means being unproductive in another.

All around me, projects call out. Succumbing to the siren call of my desk means ignoring the laundry.  Cooking dinner means not grading papers. Spending time on social media, whether for business or pleasure, means not spending time elsewhere in face-to-face contact.

It's a dilemma. And a frustration. I want to do it all.

And so planning and flexibility co-exist, sometimes peacefully, sometimes duking it out in a most unsightly manner. Sometimes these fights are amusing, but usually, they're annoying. Sometimes, they're almost physically painful, coming at the cost of sleep and peace of mind.

StevePB via Pixabay
I'm not sure what the answer is. Scale back? Maybe. But I like all of the things on my list, and would be sorry to see any of them go. Writing has already nudged out theatre, for the most part. A full course load this semester has wiped out leisure reading. The empty nest has reduced my laundry load, but hasn't added any additional hours to the day.

So, I'll keep making lists, trying to satisfy both planning and flexibility and trying to get as close to doing it all as I can.

Let's hope planning and flexibility don't plan a sneak attack.

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