I’d describe myself as a productive person, but not a busy person. Except for this week. This is my Busy Week of the year. And I don’t know how regularly busy people manage.
In my day job, I’ve been working on a year-long project–a project with a deadline set by the Federal Government of the United States of America. That deadline is February 28th, 2015. This week has been my Busy Week.
I’d describe myself as a productive person, but not a busy person. By necessity, I manage my time carefully so that when I’m able to be get things done, I get things done. I am a remote employee; there’s no one to impress by needlessly staying in the office late.
But this week is my Busy Week. No matter how much planning or preparation I do, it’s going to be busy. I start work early. I come home late. I ignore my officemates through the shield of my headphones, listening to Anousheh’s “Make Noise” on repeat. I dump all things that are not part of my Busy Week into OmniFocus and trust that I’ll process them on Monday. During this week, I forget to eat lunch. And I love lunch.
But life with the kids hasn’t stopped. The kids still need to get to school, dressed and with food to eat. They need to be taken care of when school is canceled for snow or when they are diagnosed with Streptococcal pharyngitis. My family is used to a certain level of dad-energy when I’m done with work for the day, but I’m ending the day exhausted (and probably incubating my own colony of strep).
So, I need to take breaks. I can push myself right to the edge, but eventually my productivity suffers. More stress leads to less sleep and less sleep leads to less energy the next day. Reading old Fantastic Four issues to my kid, or doing a crossword puzzle for 20 minutes, leads to a more productive afternoon than if I worked straight through.
And then the heater breaks.
— ∮∮∮ —
I don’t know how busier people manage. If I can’t spend a good part of my day decompressing from the rest of my day, I’m a wreck. I get all jumbled in my head and don’t accept new input easily. My processing speed goes way down, and it takes me 10 minutes to remember what I was going to say or to answer a simple question. I can be go-go-go for only so long before I’m going to need a full weekend under a blanket to recover.
The federal government isn’t going to move its deadline because I need a new aquastat on my boiler. So I throw money at a nice local HVAC company, but the problem still occupies vital “stuff to do” space.
Before I had a family, and before I figured out how my ADHD works, I would have already hid from this week. I’d be watching the entire run of Parks & Recreation on my iPad instead of sleeping. I’d put everything off until the last possible second, stress out about it, and do either a horrible job, or just quit altogether. Thankfully, I have responsibilities now, and have figured out how to avoid catastrophic life choices. Having other humans depending on me is the best possible motivation for me to not give up. It’s also one of the reasons I wasn’t the best student, as my inactions could only really affect myself.
So I plow ahead. I get the boiler fixed. I pay professionals to tell us who has strep and who doesn’t. And I get my government homework turned in on time.
This week is almost over and I’m grateful that only one week out of 52 is this predictably crazy. I know I’m lucky that I have a job and life at affords me as much time with my family as I get. And as cliched as it is, time away from them makes me appreciate time with them more.
Photo by: Michael Bentley