Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Signs you are overbooked

As the tourist season has slowed down here and therefore my work schedule at the winery has as well, I've been thinking about being overbooked -- chores stacked up like planes waiting to land at O'Hare, circling, circling, with me in the middle trying to prioritize and manage all the "air traffic" and feeling more and more overwhelmed. 

My chores can easily take a half-day in summer -- every day, 7 days a week, with no exceptions due to the heat. This is mainly because we grow so much of our food. but add to those half-days full shifts of outside work, plus other things like my family, people coming to visit and the things we want to do (concerts, beach, parties) it's easy to start feeling overbooked.

My Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) resolution was not to let this happen again next year. I'm not in the phase of my life for that anymore, and I certainly don't want to miss out on things I want to do because I'm squashed under a mountain of responsibility. If my kids come up here, I want to be able to visit with them. If my husband gets a couple of days off before grape harvest starts, it would be nice to spend them together.

So in thinking about it, here are (for me, anyway) the Top Ten Signs you are overbooked: 

1. Family coming to visit feels like one more chore to add to the chore list. And squiring them around town feels like a few hours that will cause you to fall even more behind on Life's Chore List than you are already. When you resent having to go wine tasting and out to lunch, there's a problem.

2. You start to dread the concert, party or event you have had on the calendar for awhile (and were at one time looking forward to attending) because you'd just rather stay home and catch up on your rest or your chores.

3.  Things you formerly loved doing around the house now feel like time-wasting manual labor.

4.  You start to forget things; your brain's memory files are so filled with deadlines and commitments that other things begin dropping out, like paying bills on time, remembering to clean the litter box, etc. (apologies to Kitty)

5.  You see good friends on your Caller ID and let it go to voicemail. No time for aimless chatting.

6. You set time limits on everything -- "I'm going to the party, but need to leave by 9 pm so I can get to bed and get enough rest for work tomorrow because it's going to be SO busy." And you hold yourself to them, because rest at that point has become more important than fun.

7.  You stop reading anything longer than a standard news article on the internet, and you even skim that. Your focus and attention are in too much demand elsewhere.

8.  Pets feel like customers -- just one more entity with needs you must fill. (apologies to Kitty x 2)

9.  Spouses become coworkers you rely on to keep things running, meaning the only romance you have time for is kind where he does the dishes for you while you're squeezing in a trip to the supermarket at 9 pm on a Sunday night. Nothing says romance like sitting with a gallon of milk and tortillas in the Express Lane knowing your husband is at home putting away all the clean pots and pans away in unusual places.

10. You have a whole list of things in your life that go into the category of "I don't have time to deal with that right now. I'll get to it after all this chaos clears out." Projects, things that need decisions made, long-term planning -- even routine medical care all get put into this category.

I'd say if you felt an affirmative nod to three or more of these things, it's time to make some changes. You are overbooked.


  1. This is a great list. And I can't imagine any productive person can say he/she is free from all of them. A lot of this list really is about consciousness and embracing the moment vs feeling the looming Workload. Which is so so hard. I call these "hobby audits" where I try to assess which of my hobbies I still WANT to spend time on and which I'm ready to cut back on. I would like to add an asterisk to the family one though. Let's face it, don't family IS work to spend time with. Of course, we're not talking about either one of us. We adore each and every member of our families... :) what a great new year's resolution. I think mine is going to be to soften some of my hard edges and hard lines I take on things. It came about from a need for structure, but I think I'm ready to loosen things up for myself mentally.

    1. I like that idea. Gray areas in life are a lot more difficult to get your head around -- black and white is in many ways much easier to handle -- but I think to give yourself permission to stray into the grays is a good thing, and often a gentle way of handling yourself. Why shouldn't rules have exceptions, where you get to be the one who determines when to make that exception? I like it.