When Life “Gets in the Way”

My schedule right now really sucks. I have a full day at work, plus three hours of commuting total. By the time I get home in the evening, I have about three and a half hours at most to eat (and sometimes prepare) supper, shower, do whatever recreational activities I have planned, get ready for work the next day, and get ready for bed.

Oh, and squeeze in shamanic work when and as I can.

Add in that my day pretty much wipes me out, and that I don’t always sleep well (especially when I have to drag myself out of bed at six every morning), and a lot of the time during the week when I do have time to shamanize, I simply don’t have the energy to do so. Fortunately, since this is a contract job, it’s only a temporary situation. However, in the meantime, I’ve had to be creative about time management, as well as admit that sometimes I simply can’t do what I planned.

For example, meditation. If I’m tired, it’s too easy for me to fall asleep while trying to meditate in a quiet way. For instance, I’m still doing my daily meditation with the spirits at lunch time. There are some comfy chairs down in the lobby at work where it’s nice and quiet most days, so I can get a few minutes to check in with the powers that be. Unfortunately, sometimes the comfort of the chairs works against me, and I start drifting off a bit (and whoever I’m talking to has to get my attention again!). I’ve also learned that meditating right after eating is a bad idea, since digestion makes me sleepy.

I’ve also had to resign myself to the fact that by the time I get home, get fed, and get settled in for the evening, I’m usually too tired for things like dancing or drumming. There have been several occasions where I’ve gone upstairs with the greatest of intentions, only to have the spirits tell me to march right back downstairs and rest. One of the goals with my Earth work last month was regulating my physical health. I’m dealing with years of accumulated sleep deprivation from pushing myself too hard, and so one thing I’ve been doing has been to try to get eight hours of sleep (or at least eight hours of laying in bed being relaxed). Unfortunately, that only goes so far, and even if I go to bed on time I still have to get up and going pretty quickly, when I’d rather get up at my own pace (I can take up to an hour to wake up completely). If I were to spend as much time in bed as I needed, I’d be going to bed around 8pm, which would give me just enough time in the evening for supper and a shower.

So I learn to compromise. It’s frustrating sometimes; I want to be able to shamanize every night. I have so much that I want to do that’s not getting done, and until I’m done with this contract (or find a reasonable replacement) I’m stuck. But I also have to admit my current limitations and learn to work within them. Therefore, I do more on the weekends, and I spend the week mostly doing less strenuous activities like writing or reading. I also remind myself that I need to pace myself, and that this schedule won’t last forever.

And, occasionally, I find I have an evening where maybe I’m not so tired, and I’m awake enough to make something happen. But until that happens, it’s best to not push myself too hard. Quality over quantity, and all things will happen in their own time.

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2 thoughts on “When Life “Gets in the Way”

  1. One thing I recommend to my friends who are completely crammed for time is take a day out to write down all the things you do and the time you need to do those and plan it out. Now, I’m not one to stick to strict self-imposed schedules myself, but I do find myself getting more done in less time when I am mindful of time being a limited commodity.

    One thing people always overlook is multi-tasking during the commute. My commute is only half of yours and is done mostly at 65 so I don’t deal with road rage terribly much. Find something you’d like to do and find a way to safely do it. You seem to read a lot of books, are there audiobook versions of these books? Perhaps some meditative music to listen to (though nothing conducive to sleep :P). I know myself, if the tape deck and radio still worked in my car, I’d probably be doing more podcast reviews.

    I use dinner as my “calm down and recompose myself” time. Actually sitting down to eat for 20-25 minutes rather than eating at a desk or whatnot has a calming effect on me, not sure about others.

    Of course, one thing to remember is don’t turn your free time into a second job. It’s good to plan, but it’s better to relax.

    I come from a background of being a freelance/contract worker in the software industry. I know how it can get, that’s why I eventually decided to say “screw that” and settle on a 9 to 5 job.

  2. terranika–My commute is via train and bus, so I can read or work on my laptop. It’s part of how I keep myself sane, honestly. If I had to drive an hour and a half each way I’d be a lot unhappier.

    My husband and I do sit down together for supper; some nights we’ll watch an episode of anime or other show that we like; other times we’ll talk together. You bring up one of the most important methods of bonding/relaxing that people forget about.

    I’m fortunate in that my contract specifically states eight to five, and exceptionally little overtime. But I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to deal with trying to work around a crazy schedule.

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