Lately I’ve felt that I’ve neglected a lot of things in my life and I’ve blamed it on coming back to work. But that’s only one part of the issue. It was only today, when I made a call I should have made months ago, that I realized that I’ve taken on more things than I can manage. It’s not unusual for me to do this, but I’m kind of mad at myself for not being able to say no in time. While on sick leave and parent leave I had plenty of time – and energy – to take on voluntary work, and I did.
I love to go dancing once a week, and when they needed a secretary for the board I accepted the position. Then I accepted to be the groups party planner together with my wife, planning two big and three minor events every year, and before our baby arrived I also sat in the building committee. I wisely resigned from that, somehow thinking I downsized my workload. A little clue: I didn’t. And if I did, I soon replaced it with other commitments.
Apart from dancing I’m also engaged in voluntary work for Youth For Understanding, an organization that arranges for teenagers to be exchange students. Again doing one thing isn’t enough for me, I’m both a host parent and a contact person for another host family and student. Then, a month ago, I was asked to be part of the small group who will create a much needed improvement in the voluntary community for the organization. It’s right up my ally and I couldn’t refuse… Again…
I also have this blog that I want to work more with and I’ve also just added a Twitter account as a complement to it, @fredrication. Feel free to follow my absolutely fabulous and oh so interesting tweets there!
That’s as far as my voluntary work goes. I also have a paid day job and before my parent leave I did pretty mundane work, answering emails, the phone and tweaking settings for users. Now I’ve got the opportunity to develop and plan a big change in systems. I’m really looking forward to this, but Its a completely different kind of work and I have to learn to work in a different way. With this its quality, not quantity, that counts. In the midst of this I feel the pressure to perform and show what I’m capable of doing, and most importantly show them that they were right to assign this work to me.
All of this, and I haven’t even started to write about the most important work in my life! I’m a family man, playing with my kid and serving approx three meals a day to my family. Saving a little for myself I try to squeeze in time with my friends, exercise and trans support groups too.
Way to much on one plate you say? Well, so I just realized. No wonder I don’t have energy to plan dinners like I used to, don’t have as much time for friends that I want, make calls to my contact family and student a month or two late and so on. No wonder I feel drained and no wonder I was stressed over Christmas…
I know I must downsize a lot in order to keep my sanity. I started to prioritize all the things I do and was surprised by how easy it was for me: family first, then friends and dancing, thirdly blogging and twittering. In order to have energy left for support groups and other odd events I know I have to let the rest go even though it stings in my heart to do so. Unfortunately I can’t resign from all my commitments right away like I need to, but at least I’ve made a plan.
Next step is one thing I should know by now; saying no. But how do you decline offers of work that you really would enjoy doing? Especially when they plead to you and flatter you since no one else is interested? And then it bothers me if someone else ends up doing a half job about it when I could have done it better… How do I stop caring about what the result looks like? How do I stop caring about so much all the time? Why can’t I just be happy focusing on the few things that obviously matters the most to me? How do I let go of the rest???