The Goddess Weighs In

Living Large and Healthy

Scratch That Back Baloo

on November 14, 2012

Every time I come to Florida I have to remind myself that life moves slower here.  My first couple of days are spent frustrated with slow drivers, annoyed with slow cashiers, and bothered by the general lack of urgency that people seem to possess or in fact do not. It takes me a couple of days and then I realize that the issue is not them, but it’s me.  I tend towards impatience on a good day so to be surrounded by slower talking, slower moving, and slower acting people tends to frustrate and annoy.

The thing is the problem is all mine.

They are happy.  They live their lives, they go about their business and while I’m sure that they have their own stressors and issues they don’t add to them by worrying about having to do everything now and yesterday and on-the-double.  Too often we create hardship for ourselves because we fail to understand or fail to admit to ourselves and others that we are not invincible and cannot do it all, all the time.

There are times when we must be superhuman. Big deadlines, family emergencies, various crises crop up and we have to deal with them, but unless you’re a police officer, a firefighter, or a superhero it’s unlikely that you will face life and death situations every day.  All too often I create unrealistic deadlines for myself and then rush to complete tasks in order to stick to those deadlines.  I carry home a briefcase full of work most nights and even if I never get to it, and the sky doesn’t fall in because I didn’t get something done by my self-imposed deadline I still feel like a failure . For me this also affects my sleep because I will often push myself to stay up and complete a task instead of getting rest, even though I know that sleep often makes me better able to take on a task later.

I’m not saying we should all become sloths and develop a “mañana” attitude towards everything, but I do know that if we don’t sometimes admit that we are overwhelmed and that we need some assistance or a longer deadline that people will just assume that we are fine and expect more and more from us.  My last job took up a lot of my time and budgets were lean and I worked a lot of unpaid overtime to keep things moving smoothly.  I often felt overworked and underappreciated, and I did make polite requests for additional staff to assist me, but I met every deadline and kept up with the work as best I could.  I am now on temporary assignment in another area of the organization and the woman doing my job now has three part time assistants helping her and she’s still not coming close to meeting the targets that I was surpassing.  I could get all proud about that and self-righteous and point out to people how amazing I am for doing more with less, but actually it’s just evidence that I am a moron.  I gave up my personal time on evenings and weekends, without receiving monetary reward or even appreciation from my supervisors and now I find out that if I had been less effective at my job I would have received help and support and no one would have thought less of me for admitting that there was just too much work for one person to do.  Like many of us I don’t like to admit defeat and I don’t like to admit that a task is bigger than I can handle and I feel a certain amount of shame for having to ask for help and having to say that I can’t do it all, but I really need to get over that.

So like my favourite character from The Jungle Book I am going to work on slowing down a bit and not just while on vacation, but all the time.  I’m going to work on setting reasonable timelines for my goals and I’m going to work during the hours I am paid to work and stop bringing things home.  The week prior to my vacation I worked one night until 6pm, two nights until 10pm, another until 7pm, I answered work emails yesterday and before I go back I need to complete a Power Point presentation for a new initiative I created and developed.  I’ll do the presentation because I said I would and I don’t want the new initiative to fail, but the stack of work I brought home to do on vacation will not be getting done.  It’s a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction.

–  the Goddess

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