Over Stretched and the Breaking Point

It has not been a good brain week for me. I probably should have expected it as the cost for an exceptionally productive weekend. Or perhaps I should have anticipated it as the natural result of election week combined with convention prep week combined with deadlines on event registration launches combined with I’m-running-a-crowdfunded-project, all of which resulted in a schedule so tetrised together that there was zero wiggle room. And then the driver side window on our 20-year-old car broke so that it couldn’t be closed and I found myself fighting wind and a tarp to try to keep the interior of the car dry during the stormy week between now and when the part to fix it arrives. There was no space in the schedule for car window tarping, nor for us having to juggle around having a single car instead of two. Nor for reconfiguring convention plans around not having two cars. I kind of broke for a couple of days. Today I’m functioning, but in a held-together-with-duct-tape way, not a running-smoothly-again way.

I had a conversation with a friend last week where I mentioned feeling a bit over stretched. I admitted concern that the level of stretch was not sustainable over a long period of time, so I either needed to increase capacity or knock some things off of my schedule. She looked at me over her glasses and gently suggested that I look into knocking things off my schedule because it isn’t actually possible to increase capacity, particularly not from a starting point that is over stretched. I listened. I eliminated a few things. Others I just had to hold tight and ride to the point where they naturally conclude. Then the car broke and I broke and some of my spinning plates came crashing down.

One of the nice things about a crash like that is that once the plate is smashed, I can just throw it away and not have to worry about keeping it spinning anymore. In some ways that is easier than making a conscious decision to put down a task. I’m always aware that when I decide not to do a thing, that doesn’t make the thing cease to exist. I’m just making it someone else’s task instead of mine, or I have to be willing for the thing to not be done at all. Which is hard, especially if it is a thing I care about. Sometimes I’m just moving the task from being a problem for me today into being a clean up for future me to deal with.

Truthfully, the only critical thing that broke this week was me. Everything else is “minor annoyance” levels of rearrangement which I can normally adapt for, but for some reason this week it broke me instead. Which means either I’m just having a bad brain chemistry week which will turn itself right side up in a few days, or I’m under estimating how over stretched I am and I need to be more aggressive about pushing some things out of my schedule. Either way, the correct response is to grant myself extra rest time today. Push off anything that isn’t absolutely necessary and evaluate after next week. Because next week is both Dragonsteel Con and the last push of crowdfunding. The week after that, the week of Thanksgiving, is beautifully clear of calendar appointments. I will definitely feel better once I get past this over-crowded week and into that empty one.

For now, I’m taking a moment to process in writing. Then I’m going to eat lunch. Perhaps after that I can think about what else is absolutely necessary today.