Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Just Say No!

One of my over-riding bad habits is trying to cram too much into a finite space of time.  I do it all the time, and very often I don't realise I've done it, until I'm contemplating a looooong list of things to do, and not enough time to do them all in.

As a result of the above bad habit, I quite often spend large chunks of time stressed, tired, rushed and running perpetually late.  Oh, and things don't get done, because inevitably something has to give and balls get dropped.

Another side-effect of it is that I often end up spending too much money and eating / drinking too much because I'm out nearly every night.  I just find it really hard to say "no" to invitations.

Last year, I made a New Years resolution, that I would try and get better at this.  I'd realised it was a problem, and needed addressing, so I made a conscious decision to not over-book myself in 2011.  It started off fairly well, but soon enough, weekend after weekend, evening after evening was filled up with plans to see friends and go on adventures.  Call it the problem of moving to a new city and starting a new life.

I did improve on some fronts - I got better at saying I can't do something because I can't afford to and I'm tired, even though that sometimes caused friction.  I got better at making a plan and sticking to it, and owning up when I had managed to double-book myself.  A bit better, but not perfect.  Not by a long shot.

You will have noticed that it wasn't in my formal resolutions this year, but that doesn't mean I'm not still working on it.  For the sake of my sanity, my friendships, my health and my money, I need to keep working on this.  That's probably why it's no longer really a resolution, and more of a lifestyle choice I'm working towards.  But you could view it as my 4th unspoken resolution.  After all, it underpins all 3 of the resolutions I recorded on here.  In order to look after my money, I have to stop over-booking myself.  In order to look after my health, I need to stop over-booking myself.  And in order to nurture this thing with Chris, I need to make time and stop over-booking myself!

Sooooooo - this week is busy.  Like, really busy.  Work is at full-tilt, I have several things I need to sort out at home, like my mail redirection and moving my surf-board to storage - both of which are time-restricted activities because of opening hours of businesses, I have training runs to complete, and it's turned into a catch-up week with various friends I haven't seen for a while.  I went to bed last night trying to work out how everything fitted in, and woke up this morning still trying to figure out the same thing.  The problem is that every possible solution I came up with involved me having to miss my training runs and still being in an insane rush.  It just wasn't good enough.

Eventually, I reached a decision: my training runs are important to me, so they are non-negotiable.  The chores need doing as soon as possible.  Work .... well, work can't be moved.  So my catch-up with my friend Dave this evening will just have to be rescheduled.  I'm confident that he understands - he's not going to stop talking to me just because I can't make it to the pub this evening, as he's a busy grown man who's successful in his career and understands the demands on our time - so I texted him this morning to explain, and we've rescheduled for 2 weeks time when things are quieter.  I feel relieved that I've bought myself time.

In the same way, a friend emailed me yesterday asking what weekends I was free in Feb and March.  My calendar is already virtually full for March, with a friend visiting from Brussels (long awaited), my half-marathon (eeeeeeek!), a friend's birthday which will be a rare get-together for my school friends (too exciting!) and the hen party of the friend who was emailing me (non-negotiable), so I've made the decision that I'm not going to take any more bookings for March.  In fact, I'm going to try and keep at least one weekend a month completely free for resting and relaxing.

This behaviour of cramming my diary full dates from an old version of me; one who was unhappy and lacked self-esteem, and needed constant reassurance of her worth and likeability by surrounding herself with friends and exciting things to do all the time.  The 2011 me doesn't need that.  I have a heap of great friends, and possibly one lovely man, who I know like me for just me.  Hell, even I like me these days.  I can afford to take time out, and be selfish, and just do what I really want to.  It'll be good for me.

Eating yesterday - not perfect.  I had some cocktails after work and ate out (although the food wasn't terrible), but I laughed hard and relaxed, so I'm over it.

Tonight, I run.

1 comment:

Love Cat said...

I totally get this. Of course I want to see my friends but life gets in the way. I often end up running around like a mad woman and sometimes feel that people now expect me to be able to come to them, rather them make the effort to travel to me, just because they are used to it.

Anway, what I'm trying to say is I like your thinking! x