I’m no stranger to stress. Years ago, as a single mom raising three kids while working full-time, I wrote a book, not the book, on stress, Motherhood Stress: It Causes More than a Few Grey Hairs. I thought that once my kids were on their own, my life would naturally de-stress – NOT!
The past week, I’ve been wrapped in stress. Between family responsibilities, volunteer commitments, as well as my writing commitments, I’ve been wound tight trying to accomplish all of my real and self-imposed deadlines. This is a familiar place for me. I’ve been here many times before. And yet I keep coming back. For all that I know about stress and time management, I still find my life unmanageable.
What is the common denominator throughout these years? Me. Sometimes it seems I am no own worst enemy.
I over-commit and set goals and deadlines that are unrealistic. For all of my prioritizing, I still find myself taking on more than humanly possible. As it says under my Meyers-Briggs personality type, INFP, “Tend to undertake too much, then somehow get it done.” That’s me.
Last week in my blog post, I said that once I finished going over the editing suggestions made by a friend, I was putting my summer work-in-progress to bed. Well, I’m still going over those suggestions. Her comments were extensive and very helpful. I planned on devoting Monday to going over them and then be done.
By six o’clock, I was only one third of the way through the manuscript. Since then I’ve been putting as much time as I have available to complete this task, leaving me with a back ache and neck and shoulder muscles that are screaming.
It seems this baby is refusing to go to sleep! This is causing me stress.
I want to get through this. After all, I have to get ready for NaNoWriMo. I also have my blogs to keep up (this one is late), I’m exploring audiobooks, have a book I wrote for a local non-profit that needs editing, and need to keep marketing the books I already have published.
But then I realize, who says I have to do everything on my list? Who says I have to keep deadlines I set myself?
I can give myself a break, massage my schedule and my shoulders. And if this book is demanding more of my attention, then so be it. My other self-imposed deadlines can be pushed back. The work I do on this manuscript now, means less work later and less corrections to be caught by my copy editor. It is well worth the time. And even more important, I am worth the time.
Why do I keep doing this to myself? I’m a compulsive over-achiever from way back. Try though I might, some things just don’t change. I am my own worst enemy, imposing tasks that are impossible and killing myself in the process.
Better to slow down, readjust my deadlines a little and give myself some breathing room than to rush through this project only to have to pick up pieces later.
What about you? In what ways are you your own worst enemy?