Dragons of Today: Over-scheduling

“No, I would not want to live in a world without dragons, as I would not want to live in a world without magic, for that is a world without mystery, and that is a world without faith.”

R.A. Salvatore, Streams of Silver

Picture of a dragon
Over-scheduling Dragon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I’m kicking off the start of a new series: Dragons of Today – cuz life ain’t only pixie dust and fairy dances. Life is full of big, scary, overwhelming problems that are ready to torch you down at first sight. Dragons that are standing in the way of you and your dreams. But the thing to remember is that dragons can be beaten – and that’s what we’ll work on in this series.

Our first Dragon is, by definition, a big one. Big as in this guy is everywhere. Big as in he chases everyone, right on down to the smallest member of your family. Big as in you don’t know how to get rid of him.

He is the Dragon of Over-scheduling. Familiar with him? Yeah, I thought so. Me too. In fact, there’s a reason I chose to write about this particular Dragon today. Today marks the start of my new job (wahoo!). And while that is, without a doubt, a great thing, it also means I’m taking on another big responsibility. It means that now, every week I get to juggle working 2 part-time jobs, making a menu and writing up a grocery list, grocery shopping (at 2 different stores might I add, because I can’t bring myself to pay the exorbitant prices at the main grocery chain), making sure dinner gets on the table each night, hanging out with my husband on his summer break, making sure the dishes are at least done enough that there’s room in the sink for me to get a drink of water, exercising enough that I still feel good (I get grumpy if I don’t exercise), attending my church’s youth group that I’m partially in charge of, planning said youth group activities, and getting enough sleep that I can continue to function. Whew. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

Now add on to all of that the things I actually want to be spending my time doing – writing, reading, blogging, spending even more time with Terry, having fun, going on dates, going to the beach, etc. That’s a lot to fit in.

You seeing the Dragon? How do I beat him?!

You might say I should drop a couple things. And that would be rad, but I don’t know what would go. I’m worried that the things that will get sacrificed will be the writing and reading – but those are both essential parts of who I am. They both allow me to live a different part of myself that I don’t get anywhere else, and without them I feel like I would be lacking. Reading brings me such honest joy – why would  I let that go just to be a slave to everything else? And writing gives life to the creature that reading makes me. I’m starting to see that they go hand in hand for me. Writing was my beacon of hope during my sojourn in the seemingly endless night of unemployment. My lighthouse on a 7 month long trip on a stormy sea.

And you just don’t turn your back on something like that.

Besides, it’s what I like doing. And if I’m totally honest with myself (and with you – scary!), it’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.

And this dang Dragon is standing between me and my dreams!

Sword Full
Sword of Balance to slay the Dragon! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I know, I know. You guys are probably all way busier than I am, coming from a cushy re-entrance into the world of having a job. And I’ve been that busy before too (I’m looking at you, college). And there are other ways to beat this particular Dragon. Like say, having a schedule. Oh the irony – combating over-scheduling with more scheduling. But sometimes you gotta fight fire with fire, right? And schedules actually work pretty well for me. I always loved writing up a new morning routine every time a new school year rolled around. I enjoy the stability it gives me and I recognize that it’s a tool, not a chain – if it’s not working for me I cut it free. So yes, having a schedule may just be my sharp sword against this guy.

Is that gonna be enough? I have no idea. My gut feeling is no. If combined with a shield to protect the things I really care about? More possible. There’s another trick for ya – prioritizing.

How about you, friends? Do you battle this particular Dragon too? Don’t be shy about admitting it – we’ve all seen dozens of studies saying how Americans over too busy, too stressed, too hurried, too harried, and too sleep-deprived. If I had to guess, I’d say this Dragon is eating America whole.

I guess what I’m trying to say is I value balance in my life. Is there some sword named Balance? Or perhaps a wizard who can throw some dust and poof! make everything fit? No? Hmm. Too bad. Perhaps one of you should look into that profession. Bet you’d make a killing.

So, out with it. What do you do to protect against over-scheduling? Is it even a problem in your life? How do you find a happy balance? Think we can beat this, together? Oust this guy once and for all?

Me too.

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  1. Michelle Bishop June 20, 2012, 2:51 am

    I love your blog Caitlin! I’ve personally been battling the “dragon of over scheduling” myself which is the cause of this long-awaited response! 🙂 I love the concept of being a “possibilitarian” from your first post, and I agree with your observation that looking at something from a different perspective helps! Prioritizing is always great too, but I must say you had me worried once when you were in high school. I was straightening up in your room one day and noticed a “list of things to do” on your dresser. As I glanced at it, I saw that one of your goals was to “read 102 minutes.” My heart kind of panicked! I thought that was pretty rigid and perhaps you were manifesting OCD symptoms from all the stress of school-musicals-piano-extra curricular activities-AP classes-chores, etc. (Oh, and don’t forget that your ‘MOM’ made you go to bed REALLY early too – so you didn’t really have much time to read – only time to imagine many wonderful plots and develop a possibilitarian imagination! Geez Caitlin!!!) However, much to my relief, when I asked you about it later, “102 Minutes That Changed America” was the title of a book you were reading for school. Apparently, it was firsthand accounts of people who survived the events on that fateful day of 9/11. Whew! I felt SO relieved!!!
    Love you, Mom 🙂
    (I think that’s when we decided to extend your bedtime though!) 🙂 🙂 🙂


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