Monday, April 7, 2008

I'M STRESSED AS HELL AND I'M NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE


Sunday's NYT article, "In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop," was just the wake-up call I needed. I've been more productive the last few months than in years yet each night I go to sleep chiding myself for not finishing projects and wondering how I can get more done.

I used to be a highly-organized person. Each day I wrote checklists. When I crossed off a to-do item, a task as small as dropping clothes off at the dry cleaner or as time-consuming as filing six months of household papers, I experienced a rush of accomplishment.

Oddly enough as a working mom, I managed to keep my organization skills strong. Lunch hours were not about eating, they were a luxurious block of time where I ran errands, quickly and alone. A friend of mine once told me she admired how with fifteen minutes of down time I managed to accomplish multiple errands while she spent the same time sitting in her parked car.

As a SAHM, I find this efficiency a challenge. Worse, now that I'm not "working", others who do work, consider my complaints unjustified. I used to get sidetracked by dirty breakfast dishes, a pile of soiled laundry, and phone calls but I've traded these for another time-consuming distraction: blogging. Not the writing part. To spend endless hours writing is my dream. No, it's the blogosphere learning curve: blog administration, marketing, social networking. The blog world is enormous and learning how to navigate it is overwhelming. Additionally, there are so many interesting writers out there on every subject that when I read one I like, I link over to another they recommend, and another, and before I know it hours have passed and I can no longer remember the original article or my motivation for reading it in the first place!

I've been wondering how to better manage my time between my role as a mom, my home business, and my blogging. I tend to take things on with a flourish. I become passionate and consumed with the desire to be an overnight success at whatever I do. Over Christmas I decided I was going to start a business AND a blog. I had no idea how much work each of them would require and, since both of them are computer driven, I find myself chained to my Ibook. I work while the kids are in school - forgetting to drink, eat, walk the dog, and plan dinner. I sneak time logged on while the kids are doing homework. I make a quick pit stop while cooking or cleaning only to realize dinner has burned or it's 10pm and I've forgotten to put the kids to sleep! I spend little to no time with friends, little to no time reading books, and even less time with my husband.

Don't get me wrong, I love writing the blog. It's forced me to share my words in a public forum and connected me to other people with like interests and concerns. But in my hopes of filling my days with new purpose I've added stress and confused my priorities.

The NYT article above was interesting because while I am not a career blogger, and while I'm hopefully not going to drop dead of a stress-related heart attack any time soon, I am suffering from similar time-management difficulties. I answered the wake-up call and researched some tips I hope will be helpful. I provide links below in case you're interested.

Warning: Do not spend hours going from link to link like I did! Defeats the purpose, no?

How do you make the most of your day so you're a satisfied and happy mom? I'd like to know.

Related articles:
Workload is Killing Bloggers
(This link is not working, please go to www.kathrynvercillo.com/blog. Click on right column heading"Workload is Killing Bloggers". It's a good article.)
Work At Home Mom Time Management Tips
Time Management Tips for WAHMs and MOMs

P.S.!!!!! It just took me so long to write this article and get the linky-love right that I'm late to pick up my son and I haven't eaten, walked the dog or anything! So much for time management!


8 Comments:

Manic Mommy said...

Wow! That's dead on. I was far more organized when I was working outside the home. I even fit in the occasional pedicure over lunch! Now, I'm behind in everything.

I think part of it had to do with having the house empty all day - no one to clutter it up! But I've also been thinking it's because of my addiction to blogging. I too "link around" and ignore my husband after the kids go to bed.

My new trick is to set the kitchen timer so if I "just jump online to check email" I hear the timer and know that my child has to be picked up from school.

I need help. I'll read the links after the kids go to bed - the timer's telling me to put the fish in the oven.

ByJane said...

What you said about the blogosphere learning curve really resonated with me. Sometimes I feel like I'm running in place. I don't know if it's midlife or what, but stuff doesn't stay in my head the way it used to (I think!) So I have to go back and re-view and re-understand and re-whatever. And I don't have kids gumming up the works...or a husband! So know that the grass is not greener, no matter where you are.

merlotmom said...

By Jane and MM: Just so you know I never felt more stressed than after I wrote that article. I didn't get the same endorphin rush I get when I write a more "personal" piece (so I felt like maybe time wasn't well spent) and because the links gave me so much trouble, I left the house late and totally fa-klempt! I need to re-view, re-understand, re-whatever the articles I linked as well. Sheesh!

InTheFastLane said...

I am a blog addict...I admit it. And the really cool part of having people read and comment on my blog, makes me want to reciprocate, but at this point there are soo many blogs I read and so little time. I read almost every post in my reader, but I don't always have time to comment, sometimes this happens during my downtime at work, sometimes while cooking dinner, sometimes while my little one is in the bath. I don't think i have found the balance yet.

Karen said...

The real problem is that there aren't enough hours in the day for reading blogs and then writing. Hence I sit here at 12:30a looking for balance and for sleep. Is this about post-menopause, blogging or both?

merlotmom said...

Karen-I'm not quite post menopausal, in peri stages I suppose, but other than that I'm right there with ya.

Carol said...

It's all so relative, no? When I started my blog I set the goal of doing two posts a week, and I'm wary of increasing that; afraid I will feel like gerbil on the wheel. I'm hoping that by limiting posts I will have enough time to learn the tech stuff and do some marketing. That's the part that is hard on my mid-life brain. I'm STILL trying to figure out how to set up comment tracking so I can track the conversations I join.

With a kid with autism at home, blogging is more of a way to talk with adults than a money-maker.

I am impressed you have already hooked up with del0iciolus, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc. They are still on my "do to" list. Is doing so worthwhile?

Lynn said...

I am a blogger addict. Hubby has no idea what I do on the computer now. I haven't told him I have a blog, because, well, he wouldn't know what one was anyway and I can have this little secret all to myself *grin* at least for now. It's only been a month. I do find blog-hopping hard to manage....time flies when your hopping. Other than that, I try to use blogging as my reward for getting other things done. I used to be way more organized when I worked outside the house in my studio (years ago). Now that I am home, I am more relaxed (lazy) because I don't have to stick to a strict schedule. But we do run out of underwear and sock occasionally....

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