From Where I Sit – Time Crunch

Not for the first time in my life, I’ve got some time management issues. This despite some tried and true tools and some hard-won life experience.

In the tool department I have a three ring daily planner in a zippered leather case, a purse-sized month-at-a-glance, a grain company calendar on the fridge and reminder notes as required. I don’t say yes as often as I used to to wonderful projects, worthy causes or casual diversions.

Yet despite my best intentions sometimes everything happens at once. Let me tell you about October/ November. Almost a year ago I volunteered to chair the committee that organizes Sherwood Park’s big fall art show. That spontaneous gesture has cost me hours of work revamping the handbook, consulting with the committee, reporting to the membership, not to mention the actual show setup and takedown yet to come. Wouldn’t life be easier if I was simply painting for the show?

A year ago I began working on my BA through Athabasca University. So far I’ve just been tackling one course at a time. I must have been insane when I picked May 1st as my start date. I naively envisioned myself in a chaise lounge with a cool drink under a shade tree reading Othello. Not. I’ve struggled to complete this one mainly because of the timing. Guess what? Final three hour exam on the 21st. A mere two days after the art show.

Did I mention that in early November the curator from Red Deer Museum is coming to my studio to select paintings for a January 2004 joint art show Elaine and I have been waiting on for four years? No pressure there.

If my kids’ art classes in Smoky Lake go ahead that’ll be 6 weeks of lessons to plan and execute. In November Roy and I are off to Rosebud Theatre and a country inn courtesy of some gift certificates from our kids last Christmas. Also in November I’ve got a four-day conference in Red Deer.

I need to continue to fit physio therapy, strengthening exercises and therapeutic massage into my schedule as long as rotator cuff and sciatica problems are part of my life.

Did I mention that I haven’t watered a tree or planted a bulb or cleaned a flowerbed since I started working part-time? Oh I didn’t tell you about that either. I work two (or sometimes three) days a week. I thought it important to get back into the workforce and among people again since everything else I do is solitary in nature. But I need to be at my organizational best to pull it off.

Through it all I’ve learned that all the planning tools, priority setting and resolve go out the window when tragedy strikes. Visiting the bereaved and attending a funeral comes first.

So does planning a daughter’s graduation party or helping a kid move out of home. Or taking off the crop. Staying flexible is the only way, from where I sit.

*Reprinted with permission