I have used my bog-standard day planner to help manage the stress of this heavy workload season. Basically, I realized that after about 3 p.m. I can’t do any useful work actually reviewing grant applications (which is what I do). I can’t concentrate, and folks aren’t going to get my most insightful thoughts. And for what I charge, they should get insightful thoughts. So I sat down and worked out the numbers. Some days I can get through 4 applications as long as I get up early and no one is hanging around in my office (which is also the kitchen). Some days, I have things to go to, so that cuts down on what I can do. Do I need to miss those things? Well, I planned it out. And no, I don’t. The work I have to do can all be done before the end of the day on Friday, September 26th without having to miss some of the things I’m booked for (a class at church, a fitness class, etc) and without reviewing more than 4 applications a day (and fewer on most days). That is a pretty reasonable workload. It enables me to do my best work for my clients, get it done in a reasonable time-frame, and be involved in the rest of my life.
Knowing that it works also gets rid of lots of stress and anxiety. I don’t have to feel bad on days I only review 2 applications. I don’t have to feel guilty about stopping at 3 p.m. and writing a blog post or going for a walk or canning pears. I can go to a friend’s place on the weekend and hang out with my partner in the evening playing games and chatting after we’ve canned pears and green tomato salsa.
And I can futz around on the internet and mull over ideas about where this business might be going after this little seasonal rush.
Of course, I also determined that I didn’t have time to take Tigger to the opera today. We had purchased the tickets ages ago for a school performance of The Marriage of Figaro. But Mat stepped up and took her. He has work to do, too, but our relationship is a partnership and he’s as committed to parenting and homeschooling as I am. Also, I only get busy in September and May. And he’s going away to do a lot of intensive work in the first week of October. It all works out. Give and take.
I’m hoping that our new Busy Body Fridge planner will make that coordination less stressful. It only just arrived, so we’ll have to see.