Too Many

This semester (or season of life) I’m teaching an online section of comp II, I’m co-facilitating (primarily in the form of writing “curriculum”) an adult Bible class, I’m serving as the primary care giver for two preschool aged girls (mine), and I’m working as partner/helper/consultant for my preacher husband (as I always do). It’s also my turn to take care of all things financial in the Gerhardt household (Justin and I switch off every few years). This is proving to be a pretty difficult term as money person. Oh yeah, I’m also trying to “make it” as a writer.

I say all this not to brag about all I’m doing—as Justin said in his sermon on Sunday, overextended people are often proud people. I say it instead to bemoan what I think is the case for most women—some men, too—and that’s this: I have too many balls in the air.

If I add up the hours I spend doing each of these jobs, I am surprised to see that I actually have plenty of time. Ten hours to teaching, six to Bible class, and since the girls go to preschool, fewer than forty with them. On paper it is completely achievable.

The problem, for me, is how scattered I feel. I have a hard time keeping everything in its own separate category. Instead, each part bleeds onto the others, like I forgot to separate the darks from the whites before I tossed them all in the washing machine. Even though I did try to separate them. I just missed a sock.

What if I did keep everything in its own box? Living that life is like driving on a street with too many stoplights. Just when you get going it’s time to hit the brakes.

I think the biggest difficulty is handling or managing so many separate categories. It’s like packing all your stuff into three carry-on bags verses one big piece of checked luggage. One is easier than three, even if the one is heavier.

I find myself feeling completely overwhelmed by a list of four or five tasks—all of which could probably be accomplished in an hour. But I don’t see the actual work. I see the number of things on the list.

I think in terms of making breakfast lunch, AND dinner. So that making breakfast is harder than it should be as it’s in view of cooking again in five hours. And grading papers and meeting friends for a playdate and doing laundry and searching online for good articles about animal sacrifice.

I know, people, one thing at a time. But that’s easier to say when you have three things to do. It’s downright depressing when you have sixteen.

Here’s what I’ve decided is the bottom line: I’m not doing too much. But I am doing too many.

I’ve got to drop some things from the list, because there’s something to be said for focus, simplicity and specialization.