Are you too busy?

Overnight the weather has changed. Overnight we’ve gone from summer to autumn. The calendar says so, whether we want to believe it or not.

Falling Leaves

Some days I’m convinced my life is run by a calendar. Most of my activities are scribbled into those tiny squares, partly so I won’t forget any of them and partly so I won’t double-book engagements, meetings and appointments. On Facebook last weekend I saw a graphic that said, “Too busy is a choice. Life is not an emergency. Life is a gift.”

“Too busy is a choice.”

I’m pretty sure most of us don’t think it is. We think busy is what life does to us as the clock ticks through its 1,440 minutes every day. Now that fall has officially arrived the pace will pick up. Today is the first day of school for children throughout BC (thankfully, the teachers’ strike is finally settled), our church choir resumed yesterday, my writers’ group is back in action, and a myriad of meetings are already vying for visibility on our calendar.

One bit of wisdom I’ve learned through the years is, while so many home, church, school and community activities are worthy of my support, I. Can’t. Do. It. All! I can’t and I shouldn’t.

When we exceed our emotional or physical limitations we cease to be useful. We admire those who appear to give 110%, but in reality it’s impossible to overextend ourselves for very long without suffering consequences. In today’s society burnout and nervous breakdowns are commonplace.

“Too busy is a choice.”

Septembers are a little like Januarys in that they provide ‘beginning again’ opportunities. We get to decide how we’ll spend the majority of these minutes, days and weeks. Oh, I realize there are some commitments that have to be shouldered; life isn’t all about us. But we are responsible for how we use the one life we’ve been given. We are answerable to the One who gave it to us … expected to make wise use of our time and abilities.

A new season begins today. There are new opportunities, old commitments and decisions facing us. Now might be a perfect time to evaluate and reestablish priorities.

We writers know about squeezing our passion into leftover crevices of our days, procrastinating about finishing (or starting) a particular manuscript, waiting until deadlines choke us before giving the task the priority it always should have had. We say we’re too busy, and we let that excuse stress us to the limit. But …

“Too busy is a choice.”

The choice is ours to make. I believe I have some thinking to do!

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Are you making any changes in your scheduling this fall? What (or who) is it that you want to make time for?

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NaNoWriMo – On Your MARK…

This is our last day of… what? Sleeping, leisurely meals, spending time with the family, our sanity? Maybe all of those things, but it’s also the start of commitment, endurance, achievement. We’ve chosen to participate in this writing adventure called NaNoWriMo because we believe there is a worthy and attainable goal just thirty days away.

By accepting the challenge we have each made ourself a promise. We will try and we will keep trying.

And just for good measure take with you the following admonition as you venture into the NaNo forest tomorrow. (I heard it from Jessica Morrell who was quoting Margaret Atwood who in turn had been quoting Alfred Lord Tennyson — sorry, I know that’s convoluted, and now I’m quoting it, too, but it’s so applicable.)

“Doubt not, go forward – if thou doubt, the beasts will tear thee piecemeal.”*

BeastsIf we stop trying before November 30th the beasts of failure will be there to do more than gloat. They’ll  gorge themselves on our self-esteem, mercilessly ripping it from our hearts.

Okay, so I ran out of pithy, encouraging words to use for motivation. Isn’t fear a better motivator, anyway?  😉

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[*The Holy Grail, Alfred Lord Tennyson]