Sunday, March 14, 2010

Stretching the Hours...Not

Modern society is infected with the idea that we can have it all--nothing we want should be out of our reach. Were this only for necessities for life that would be one thing. However, we apply this axiom to everything. And when/if we don't have it all we are quick to look for where to place the blame. Fingers get excitedly pointed in all directions--it's the government's fault, it's the kehilla's fault, it's THEIR fault. Very few people look in the mirror and say "It's my fault."

One of the problems with wanting it all is that we haven't looked at a clock lately--yes, a clock. We think that we are masters of our destinies, but it just ain't so--time is. We have an infinite number of things we want to accomplish but forget that there are finite hours to a day. Somehow we believe that we can stretch the time available to us so that we can do all we want to do.

I'm looking at my to-do list for today. Typed, it runs about 2-1/2 pages, single spaced. Yup, it's neatly organized by category of things to be done. Hey, it's a piece of cake--just follow the list and everything is going to get done---not. Out of curiosity I assigned an amount of time to everything on the list. I even added in the amount of time to unload items into the car and travel to the next destination. Here's what I found: even being conservative for the amount of time everything would take me, I had about 21 hours worth of activity planned for today, if everything went on schedule with no problems. Okay, kind of overfull, particularly since that to-do list doesn't include "little" things, like time for meals (and their preparation), a shower, answering the inevitable phone calls and sitting down to the computer to answer emails and other business. And no, it didn't have sleep listed on there anywhere.

I'm not alone in being over-scheduled--it's a nation-wide phenomenon. But here's the thing--saying we all suffer from this problem doesn't help. So, what would help? Time for a reality check and admitting that having it all would require more hours than there are in a day, more energy than any human being can muster. It's time to prioritize. What absolutely must be done without question? (And while we are at it we need to add sleep to those must-do items.) What things fall into the "nice if I could find the time but otherwise forget it" column?

With Pesach coming, and the added work this yom tov brings, it's time for all balabustas to do a reality check. No, we are not going to go without food, sleep and showers for the next few weeks. No, everything we want to do is not going to happen. What do we really need to do to prepare for this yom tov, without which there will be no yom tov?

I just ripped up my to-do list and made a new one--it's half a page. With lots of work and time I should be able to accomplish everything on it and still get some food and sleep. What about the items that got cut? Not really necessities when I looked at them realistically. Have to end this posting now--the time allotted to write it has just expired and my to-do list awaits.

1 comment:

Rae said...

The time crunch and feeling the time pressure is worse if you leave everything that you want or need to do for Pesach to the last minute. Even doing the minimum of cleaning plus the shopping and food preparation will make that week before Pesach hell if you leave everything to then. Spreading out the work and shopping beginning weeks before Pesach helps keep the time manageable.

For women who work outside the home this spreading out is really important. Don't know about you, but I can't be in the office all day and then stay up all night making Pesach in that last week.