Overload

Oh, hey, hi!  What’s that you say?  You thought I was dead?  Luckily I’m back from the dead with lots and lots of finished projects to amaze and stun you with!  Wait, no… I’ve just been absent for ages and have finished exactly zero projects in that time.  😦

Friends, I’m experiencing a bit of overload at the moment.  I’m a “yes” person and I LOVE to try new things (I suspect many of you guys may fall into this category as well).  I usually don’t know my own limits until I hit them… and then I often try to pile just a few more things onto my heavily-laden schedule until I wake up one morning exhausted, stressed, and feeling way guilty that I’m not killin’ it in every area of my life.  Here’s a quick recipe for burnout, Ginger-style:

  • work your normal minimum-of-60-hrs/week job
  • start lots of sewing/knitting/organizing/apartment projects with no real time free to finish them (or space to store them before they’re finished)
  • sign up for a writing class with lots of homework and out-of-class observation… that meets at 9am on Saturdays
  • make sure your weekend is jammed with activities (dinner with friends, church, museum outing on jam-packed last day of special exhibit, visiting friend from out of town)
  • foster a rescue dog that, while adorable, is totally un-housebroken, un-trained, and terrified of people even though this means getting up way earlier and staying up way later than you normally do since he needs to be walked like 5 freakin’ hours a day (poor Doug the Pug has to retire early on these walks… there’s no way he’d be able to walk that much in a day!)
  • cry for hours when aforementioned rescue dog moves on to his new home
  • pretend like you’re totally managing all these things and you don’t over-commit at ALL
  • panic because you haven’t had any time to start on your homework
  • give up and cry some more

I'm sorry I pooped on your laptop. Luckily I'm cute enough that you'll forgive me instantly and mourn me when I'm gone.

If you follow my instructions carefully, you just might wake up crabbier than you can remember being in ages and feeling like somebody hard-boiled your eyes overnight!  Hooray! I can’t even feel sorry for myself because ALL of this is entirely my fault!

Do you guys struggle to balance your time/interests/budget/lives?  Do you find that you have more interests than you have time for?  What tips do you have for managing your busy schedules or reducing the number of things you’re involved in?

Sigh.  Thanks for reading my boring, off-topic rant.  Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some FINISHED projects to show you!  How are you guys doing?  Any fun projects in the works?  I would probably know the answers to these things if I had time to attack my seriously-backed-up blogroll (I’m really looking forward to catching up with your universes when I get some free time!).

64 responses

  1. Oh, it’s rough. I just say no. No to everything I possibly can. What’s left over is what I manage 🙂 Good luck to you! It will work out. And remember, just say no! (It’s really your only recourse.)

    Like

  2. Oh no! I am definitely far from being an expert when it comes to time management seeing as I also take on way too many projects. It is so hard to balance work, family, sewing, quilting, reading, gym, and cooking! I feel you!

    Like

  3. This is exactly how I was feeling today! I don’t have quite as much going on as you do though. I think you’re perfectly entitled to feel a little bit sorry for yourself. And try to say no to something. I had to drop something recently to save my sanity, and it didn’t fix it all but it did help a little.

    Like

  4. Did puppy leave already?!?? SAD!! 😦 The fact that you mourned his departure with tears just proves you are a human with a good, kind, caring, empathetic heart.

    Like

    • Yes! I really miss him so much– I know that our place wasn’t the best fit for him, what with me being gone so much, but it bummed me out a ton. I really wanted it to work out with him! 😦

      Like

  5. Oh man, this sounds just like I used to be for *years*! I look back at those times now and wonder what on earth I was thinking. (Especially the time where I was holding down a full-time job, a part-time job, and running my own business as well. And that was only the working side of things.)

    Dunno if it will work for you, but one thing that’s really helped me (although it took aaaages to get into the habit properly!) is making sure that either one day each weekend, or one full weekend each month, is completely free of everything. No other commitments at all, just me-time. (Which usually translates to crafting-and-housework time.)

    Good luck finding a balance!

    Like

    • Yikes!! FT work, PT work, and running a business? Holy cow, girl, you must have superhuman abilities!

      I really like your advice about designating commitment-free time. Hoping I can take that advice SOON! 🙂

      Like

  6. Oh Hun! I have no idea how to manage my projects/budget/ambitions/time… I just do my best and lose it every so often too!
    But on the plus side your foster dog is too cute and has obviously made an impression, plus you’ve realised that there are limits!
    Now, if you find a way of remembering that and applying it could you let me know?!
    I hope you get some down time where you can just ‘be’ soon and don’t worry about the rant! We’re all capable of over-comittment/ambition-itis!

    Like

    • You’re right– there are some positives to this! Mainly that I’m realizing what I’m NOT capable of! I’m hoping to be able to hack away at my schedule and free up some time (I write this from work… on a Saturday… sigh… baby steps.)

      Like

  7. The dreaded “No” word… I’m usually in the same boat, but have managed to avoid massive overload for about 1 month now, so feeling good! Reana has it right, chocolate helps, and Kat, too, one day a week for me-time, definitely ends up being something else, but the fact that you can clear the decks for one day is a start. Good luck with “no”, hope to see you sewing again soon.

    Like

  8. That dog is just too cute. I also get carried away with wanting to do too many things, and end up not achieving any. I like trying new things, and usually go over-the-top, buying loads of stuff for new crafts I want to try, then getting bored halfway through, so I feel some of your pain. I have no concept of budget management, and then I wake up one day in a panic mode when I discover its not even half way through the month and I am already broke…needless to say this leads into a mini depression. Lol.

    Like

    • Oh my gosh… I know EXACTLY what you mean! EXACTLY. There are just way too many interesting things out there to explore! I gave up spending $ on crafty-type stuff for Lent, and it actually feels GREAT to not buy more stuff (and even to have an excuse for not joining in on sewalongs that I don’t have the time for!)!

      Like

  9. Oh no – burn out! Hope you can take some time to chill out and come back to things refreshed. I think I’m pretty selfish and like to make sure I have lots of time to myself to sew – I feel panicked if I don’t have enough ‘me time’! 🙂 Outside of work and spending time with my husband, my hobbies are sewing/kintting and blogging and I have said no to other activities because these are my priorities. Just say no and don’t feel guilty about it – if you are split a million ways you’re no use to anyone!

    Like

  10. I, like you, struggle with balance. The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is to say “no.” I have to take care of myself before I can take care of other. Period. The end. Hang in there girl!

    Like

  11. First of all, that puppy is way too cute. I think we all struggle with saying no at times and keeping a balance in life. Remember that your time is your own, so don’t worry about feeling bad if you need to say no every now and then. Your happiness and peace of mind is the most important thing!

    Like

    • Isn’t he too cute? He’s such a little guy! 🙂 The lady who has him now sent me photos of him in his new home, and he looks happy as a clam– she’s home with him during the day, so he’s not lonely at all.

      Like

  12. I’ve been trying to figure this one out for years myself! Between juggling multiple part-time jobs to try and keep my music/private teaching career going, my multiple crafty hobbies and being unable to bear just quitting one altogether (believe me, I’ve thought of it, but then I think of all those unscrapbooked photos and can’t bring myself to do it), trying to find time to keep up with my friends, read, etc….usually the chores are the first thing to go, and this is why I will never be a fully responsible adult, lol. I’m having to rethink it all again now too, now that I have a boyfriend in the mix for the first time in a very long time. I know that for me, it is important to have some time to sew in there, because I get twitchy if I go without it for too long. Aside from that….still trying to sort it out. I’m finding that trying to set manageable, short-term goals rather than a huge list of everything I want to do is helping.

    Don’t feel guilty. Take a night off, don’t schedule anything, and just do whatever you feel like doing most. Whatever will leave you feeling recharged and energized. If you’re worried about the projects, just pick one you’ve already started that’s going to be simple, fun, and not take much time to finish. I know that a quick project is often just the thing I need after a long, complicated project–just to have that sense of accomplishment at finishing.

    Like

    • Yeesh! You must be BUSY! A few years ago I had multiple part-time jobs as well as freelance work, and it was HARD to balance everything! Plus, one little schedule change in one of your jobs throws your whole calendar out of whack! I like your advice about choosing a quick and satisfying project– that sounds really great!

      Like

  13. Oh my God I think we’re living parallel lives. We’ve just sold our house, are in the process of packing for a move, just adopted a lovely but oh, so hyper German Shepherd puppy (he’s 9 weeks old, obviously not house broken yet), I work full time, have to manage a falling apart house, and have a really long list of sewing projects that I have not even had a chance to look at (and besides, I can’t find my sewing machine with the craziness that is my house at this point). I’m sorry to hear you are so overwhelmed but feel a little better knowing I’m not the only one, if you know what I mean. Want to come over for a coffee so that we can commiserate? Make sure you wear closed toed shoes – our puppy likes to bite. Happy times.

    Like

    • Oh, wow. Here’s hoping that you’re able to find some peace and quiet SOON! I hope your move goes smoothly (and your pup learns QUICKLY!). I would LOVE to commiserate over coffee– one of these days maybe we’ll be in the same city! 🙂

      Like

  14. Oh Ginger!! You need to say yes to a break!!
    I used to do this sort of stuff right after I got out of school. And it resulted in a lot of whimpering sobs on the couch as I wondered how it got so bad?!? Then I started to say “no” to the fun things and would get snarly and mean anytime anyone invited us (god forbid!) to a party that cut into my precious “me” time.
    So I decided to make a few life decisions that made me virtually into a hermit! I moved to an island where I don’t know anyone, cut back to one job and just made do with one paycheck. And I say “no”. Alot. And if someone invites us somewhere we better REALLY have to want to go because it requires quite a drive!
    Good luck girl! Try and clear your plate and start again…

    Like

    • Oh! And P.S – this is something I always wish people would say – Take a break from your blog – don’t give yourself one more thing to do. We will all be here when you get back 🙂

      Like

      • Thanks, lady! I really appreciate the advice. It’s really helpful to hear that other people struggle with the same thing, and even more helpful to hear how you guys deal with it! I can’t tell you how good it sounds to move to a remote island (or at least out of NYC!)! I feel like, like you, I’d rather have more time and less money than spend what feels like every waking minute workin’ for the man!

        Like

  15. I feel your pain. I’m currently nursing a nasty chest infection requiring industrial strength antibiotics as a result of overloading. Two pre-school children, two final year modules of a degree, the usual sewing/knitting/quilting projects, sick in-laws and a busy husband. And a rescue dog too! Oh, and an order for curtains.
    I’m so bad at just sitting and relaxing…and saying no.
    So I can heartily recommend a quilt on the sofa, a continuous supply of tea and biscuits, and gratefully accepting any offers of help (I’m not saying I’m doing it with any spectacular grace, but I’m doing it!)
    Oh…and as Sallie says…we’re not going anywhere. Go rest!

    Like

    • Holy cow! Girl, I hope you get some rest SOON and that you feel better even sooner (and your in-laws)! Yikes! I often wonder, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, how you moms do it! I’ll be thinking of you!

      Like

  16. Aww keep your chin up!! A smooth sea never makes a skilled sailor right? Isn’t that the saying? It helps me to make lists. Plus it feels really good when you check something off!

    p.s. your little pup is too cute!

    Like

    • Thanks, lady! I’m a big checklist person, too (although I have a few tasks that have been on my to-do list for, oh, YEARS at this point… maybe eventually I’ll get everything done… or better yet, move before I have to deal with some of the apartment issues, haha…).

      Like

  17. Yes, my life is really busy too.
    – I study martial arts and train in jiu jitsu/arnis and I’m in class 3x a week, anywhere between 1.5 hours to 3 hours per time
    – I work full time
    – Sometimes I have freelance projects
    – I signed up for a 5K mud run that I need to train for
    – Friends/family

    I can totally relate!

    Like

    • Ack, I’m still really sad about poor poochie. But I’m hoping to get another little dog… although maybe not until I find a new job or figure out another way to make space in my schedule. A spa day sounds amazing– great suggestion!

      Like

  18. Gosh I’m exhausted just reading this. It sounds as though you have a very full and enjoyable life even if it sometimes gets out of hand occasionally! Sewing is a time consuming activity so I can understand your frustration with lack of time to enjoy doing it. I don’t think there’s an answer other than being selfish occasionally and hey don’t let anyone make you feel bad if you decide to make more time for you ( oh and your hubby!).

    Like

    • Ack, my poor hubby! He’s often neglected due to my schedule (like today, when I’m at work now and won’t get back home until this evening, when he plays hockey). That’s the worst thing about having a crazy schedule– you just don’t have time to really be there for your loved ones (and you’re a sobby mess when you ARE home!).

      Like

  19. A very familiar read – although i think i reach tipping point before you 😉 I came home from work in tears last week just from feeling overwhelmed by work and study for exams that i am doing for work. Taking the time to talk it through with my manager went some way to deflate my panic and then i stayed in bed super late on Sunday and just chilled out – I highly recommend it – and I agree with Sallie, we’ll all be here when you have more time on your hands so if it helps you take a break from your blog – I know I do xx

    Like

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Good luck to you with your studies– it’s so difficult to work and go to school at the same time. I hope you’re able to manage your schedule effectively and make time regularly to snooze on the weekends! 🙂

      Like

  20. oh my god girl, YOU NEED A DRINK. i’m happy to mix you one and remind you that the most important person in the world is Always. Yourself. sound bratty? IT IS.

    go stomp around and sing a song abut how you are the most important person in the world. right now.

    Like

  21. 9am class on a saturday? Eeek! I too am guilty of taking on too much, though I have recently learnt to say no to people and invitations sometimes. It certainly took me a long time to learn to do it. That is such a cute dog – no wonder you felt sad to let him go.

    Like

    • I’m glad you are feeling more able to turn down requests when you’re not able. I hope you are feeling rested and getting in lots of good quality time with your sweet little family!

      Like

  22. Wow, that sounds exhausting! All I can say is hang in there. 🙂

    And yeah, I always feel like I take on way too much and have way more sewing projects than I have time for. 😉 One thing I’ve learned is the value in saying “no,” which, being a people-pleaser, can be difficult to do at first. But, ultimately, you need to do what’s best for you. 🙂

    Like

  23. Oh wow! What a full plate! I’m terrible at time management so I cannot begin to understand how’ve you’ve survived this long! I can totally relate though to not knowing your limit until it’s hit. This generally results in me collapsing on the sofa (or the floor….) sobbing because I’m a failure (which, of course, isn’t true).

    Take some well-deserved time off (blog included) to relax and clear your head. 🙂

    Like

    • Heeheehee… I have SO been there (with the sobbing and feeling like a failure thing…. it’s like a weekly occurrence these days!). How do the men in our lives put up with that?! I feel so sorry for them! 🙂

      Like

  24. Oh, poor Ginger! I haz a sad for you! Big hug!!

    It may be age speaking, but I’ve gotten a lot better at saying no over the years. But (likely) being at least halfway through my lifespan has made me really consider most of what I do, so that I don’t feel like I’m wasting my remaining years. A little morbid? Probably. Helpful? Yes.

    As a good-hearted person, you want to make others happy as well as making yourself happy. It takes a while to find that balance, and for me, it’s not something I learned once and then everything was OK. It’s an ongoing process.

    Like

    • Gail, that’s such good advice. I’ve really been rethinking my career situation a lot lately, mainly for the same reasons that you mentioned. I doubt that anyone on their deathbed says, “I only wish I had worked 80 hours a week for MORE of my life!”. I don’t think it’s that morbid– it’s wise to be thoughtful about the way you’re using your time.

      I always felt like, to be unselfish, I need to say yes to everything. But really, I don’t have the time, energy, or inspiration to give back because I’m so drained, and really, work is what’s eating up such a huge chunk of my time, so that’s clearly where I need to make a change, but I just don’t have the guts to do it!

      Sidenote: I’m at work today (unexpectedly…. blech…), and as it’s been a bit slow, I decided to take an online career aptitude test, which suggested that I try… cosmetology. Girl, I’m hopelessly incompetent at doing my OWN hair and makeup, so there’s no way anyone would pay me to do theirs! I just laughed it off, but it was a little depressing… 🙂

      Like

      • Those things are so useless! I never get anything interesting either! Maybe that should tell me something about myself 😉

        The other thing I’ve learned over time is that the only person who expects me to be perfect and to be everything to everyone is ME! So unrealistic! I suspect it’s the same way for you!

        Like

  25. Pingback: A Rather Revealing Post! « VickikateMakes

  26. Doginson!!! So very cute. I’ve been struggling with this a lot lately. Is something in the air? The spring weather? Makes us over-commit, then want to say eff it all, let’s lay in the grass at the park and let our pooches be pooches?! I just looked at my blog reader after a couple weeks off, and wanted to cry, wanted to hit “mark all as read”, which made me want to cry even more because I don’t want to ignore anybody. But sometimes you just gotta start fresh. No, I haven’t marked all as read (otherwise I wouldn’t be reading this, and therefore I’m glad I didn’t do so). But I just discovered zenhabits.net, which talks about letting go a bit. Of course, it’s one more thing to read/keep up with, but you know. Give yourself a break. Follow your whims, give your heart and time, but remember to save some for yourself. I guess that’s my advice. Which I have a lot of trouble taking. I quit my day job at the end of the year, and found myself immediately filling up my time with things to do. But what I really want to be doing with my life isn’t necessarily going to make me a solid financial contributor to our family in the immediate future. That’s why we budgeted and budgeted again before I took the plunge. I sometimes feel untethered, and end up signing up for too many things in the blogosphere and in the real world. But I’m slowly learning to say no. Take care of yourself, and we’ll be here with open arms 🙂

    Like

    • Thanks for your thoughtful words! I’m interested to hear more about your experiences outside the 9-5 realm. I’m pretty seriously considering a change of occupation– while I like what I do, it’s just too much. WAY too much. I don’t want to work 60-80 hours/week… there just isn’t enough time left in the day to accomplish anything or to contribute in a meaningful way to your friends’ lives (or to society in general!). But I have no idea what I else I could do! But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about changes I could make to my life to make things more manageable (or at the very least, so I won’t feel like I’m in survival mode all the time). Until then, why don’t we just play hooky and hang out with our dogs all day???

      Like

      • Sorry for the earful! I’m typically kinda shy about leaving this stuff in the comments. You sound like you have an actual career that you love, so maybe scale back, if possible? I had a job. Blerg. Swap?!

        Like

        • No, I really appreciated you sharing your thoughts! It’s so helpful to hear that other people’s perspectives about life, work, balance, etc. And I always love hearing what you have to say!

          Like

  27. Pingback: I’m Baaaaack + Dwarf Fortress Hat | Ginger Makes…

Got something to say?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: