Thursday, June 10, 2010

How Busy is Too Busy?

The saying goes, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.”

Parents get asked to do just one more thing for their kids’ school. Those who volunteer for associations or charities are encouraged to take on yet another task for their committee. And often we-- who are interested in the new assignment, or want to be needed, want to be helpful or don’t want to disappoint others-- agree.

But when are you too busy? When I was in college, someone put a note on my door that said, “Your busy social life should be less busy and more social.” I don’t know who put it there. Did a sorority sister think I was involved in too many campus organizations/activities and so not going out enough? Hmm.

Sometimes we wind up over committing ourselves. When we accept, we think we’ll have time to complete everything on deadline.  Even for the efficient, productive Gainfully Unemployed, doing so can be a challenge when everything is due at once. This week, for example, I’m fortunate to have quite a lot on my plate.  I'm working on a massive voiceover job: recording and editing an e-learning course of 341 highly technical PowerPoint slides due “yesterday.” I also have a smaller VO job due Monday. In addition, I’ve promised to file a friend’s domain name dispute complaint, owe content to the co-author of a non-fiction project, had a bar association committee meeting, was required to do a bit of promotion for one improv show, have a rehearsal with that team, had a handful of auditions and a performance with my other improv team.

In order get all of these projects done, something had to go. But what? Should I have skipped out on social events like a baby shower (for which I’m expected to bring a salad—meaning I also need to go to the grocery store and chop.  Can I take a shortcut of buying bottled dressing, or make one from scratch as planned?) and a friend’s birthday celebration? Not crew for a cable TV shoot for another bar association committee, which fortunately I didn’t commit to but know they need help?

Or admit that this week I simply can’t do it all? Just writing that makes me cringe. There must be a compromise. I’ve been getting up earlier than usual so I can be at my computer by 6AM. I rescheduled a meeting in Milwaukee and bypassed the cable shoot, gaining 12 hours.

What are you willing to do to get everything done?

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