Flunking Sainthood

My assignment to myself

Someone told me recently, “I don’t know how you do it all.” I’ve heard this before and it’s nice that I fooled that person, but here is the truth: I am going a bit barmy with overcommitment.

This weekend I sat down to my gnawing to-do list and felt entirely overwhelmed. In part that’s because what’s really kicking my ass right now isn’t even on the list for this crowded week: an article that was due in the middle of November. I haven’t been able to see my way through to any solid, sustained writing time. And looking at the calendar for December, I don’t see how when article is going to happen. Especially since the underlying issue is that I have writer’s block and am still not sure how to approach the ginormous topic in question. (I did, however, find time to see the Muppet Movie over the weekend, which was very clarifying.)

Why do I let myself get into these situations? I hate disappointing other people.   Maybe what I need to do is compare how disappointed they will feel if I tell them no immediately versus how disappointed they will be if I delay my follow-through come crunch time.

The blessing of being at this point in my career is that I have more than enough stimulating work to do. The challenge is that I got here by saying yes to almost everything for years and hoping that “way leads on to way,” which it did in a rather fantastic manner. I am so grateful. But how do I unlearn the behavior that got me to this place?

I have Greg Cootsona’s helpful book Say Yes to No on my shelf and it’s pretty clear I need to re-read it. Just as soon as I finish this article. And that other thing.

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