Sunday, October 3, 2010

Empty Nest Discovery #33: There's More To Making Progress Than Meets The Eye

This way to progress (v2), originally uploaded by robertpalmer.

For the first time in months, maybe more than a year, I stayed in this weekend and did nothing except run a 10K race on Saturday. I had big plans for the rest of that time. I was going to inventory my backlog, schedule each and every task and get started on some of them. I was going to do that last weekend too, but I accepted several social invitations and after being everything to everyone except myself, I was too tired to even get started. I didn't do that this weekend--I said no to everything.

Still, the lists are unmade, the tasks are unscheduled and I haven't gotten started on any of my pending projects. What the hell have I been doing then? Well, I slept a lot; I watched movies; I went for a pedicure with a friend...I kind of slacked off. No, I totally slacked off.

I also said no a lot. I'm not used to this whole no-saying thing, so as crazy as it sounds, protecting my solitude this weekend was a drain on my energy stores. I obsessed about how people would react. I made excuses for them. I almost made exceptions.

Right now, the process of saying no is long and agonizing. It takes from me almost as much time and energy as it saves me. But it's more than what I was doing for myself last weekend, and the weekends before. I have to believe that next weekend it will be even easier and I won't have to entertain 6 catastrophe scenarios in which someone suffers a tragic fate because I said no, before I remind myself that I promised some time to myself and turn down a request for my involvement.

So I guess this has been a long and roundabout way of saying, even though I didn't get anything done this weekend, I can consider it a success because I didn't say yes when I should have said no. I got some rest. I enjoyed some leisure time. I made progress.

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