Wednesday, March 26, 2008

3 Jobs Too Many

Okay, today's going to be a whiney day, so if you don't feel like hearing me complain you might just want to move onto the next blog right now.

I currently have three jobs, of a sort. My full-time office position; a part-time online tutoring position, giving college students feedback and advice on essay writing; and our web design and development small business. Sometimes, this isn't a problem. But lately, it feels like three jobs too many right now.

Over at The Simple Dollar, Trent reviewed a book called Margin. I haven't actually read the book, so I can't speak to whether the book is any good or not. But I did like the review, and I found that the concept resonated a lot with me.

My understanding of the concept is that people function best when they have margin in their lives—space and time that is unaccounted for. This way, when something takes more of your time and effort than you had expected, you have some leeway in which to deal with it. Minor catastrophes and time-sucks can be dealt with.

On the other hand, many people today schedule their lives without any margin at all. (Can you see me raising my hand?) No margin in time, so I'm always racing from one activity to the next. And no margin in mental tasks, so I get worn down because I'm constantly thinking and evaluating and planning something else. When you're living with no margin,
the smallest glitch can cause a ripple effect and suddenly it feels like you've completely lost control.

Take my day yesterday, for example. I was really tired and sniffly, and thought I might be coming down with a cold. I wanted to come home after work and head straight for the couch. Watch a little TV, maybe nap a little, but generally just take it easy during the evening and get to bed early so I could feel rested today.

But at the thought of spending a WHOLE EVENING doing nothing, my brain immediately went into panic mode. Because last night, I was scheduled for three hours of online tutoring. And even if I dropped those hours, I still had web design work to do and other general household tasks. I had to cook and clean and I couldn't put it all off until tonight, because tonight my writing group is coming over. And tomorrow I have tutoring hours again. So taking an evening off just wasn't an option.

Isn't that sad? It really bothers me that I don't have time to get a cold. And now it's more important than ever to take care of myself, since I'm not just taking care of me but the baby as well.

All I can say is, everything is going to change in July, after the baby is born. And I'm doing so much now to try and get ready for that momentous event. So even though I like the concept of margin, and absolutely agree that I need much more of it in my life ... I don't think anything's going to change in the short term. But I'll be keeping margin in mind, and look for ways to add some to my life in the future. In the meantime, I'll just annoy you all with whiney posts about what a tough life I have;) Deal?


Jonathan said...

I know exactly what you mean about not having time to get ill... I have been in pain for about 4 days but pretty much ignored it becuase there is no room in our life for it to happen.

M. Lubbers said...

Well, and I know everything changes once you have kids. When you're running after 3 munchkins, I'm sure it's hard to take a deep breath, much less time to recuperate! I'm sorry to hear that you're sick just as you went back to work, too. What timing!

If you come up with any advice on how one can still keep some margin in life while being a parent, I'm definitely open to suggestions:)