Too Much to Do

3 03 2012

Raindrops on Green LeafDo you overcommit, thinking you can get everything done, then always feel as if you’re trapped under an avalanche of unfinished projects? Are you always racing toward deadlines, never finding time to enjoy life?

Maybe it’s time to slow down and ask yourself some challenging questions. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What do you hope to gain? And more importantly, what do you hope to give? Is what you’re doing really that important in the scheme of things?

Once when I was extremely stressed out, a friend asked me to describe how I felt. I told her it was as if I were at the center of a cogwheel. I had to keep spinning and spinning and spinning, or the universe would screech to a halt.

“Are you really that important?” she asked.

Of course, I had to laugh, but I did feel as if I didn’t stay in motion, I’d be responsible for the rest of the world’s ills. I did have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, but if something happened to me, others would step in and fill the gap. Yes, I’d be missed, but the world could function quite well without me.

Sometimes I think we place way too much importance on our role at work or in the family or even in the community. We think we’re the only ones who can do what we’re doing. Or we’re the only ones who can do it well. That’s a heavy burden to carry because we’re always aiming for perfection. And that means we can’t relax because–heaven forbid–something might turn out less than ideal.

Does it matter? You might think so at the moment. But place it in perspective: Who will remember you did this (or didn’t do it) five years from now? If the answer is no one, then maybe it isn’t as important as you think. What will be remembered five years from now? That you were too busy to have fun? To spend time with people you love? To laugh? To cherish the present moment?

I chose the blog picture for two reasons. One: The raindrops on the leaf are fleeting, but they’re vital to the plant’s survival. Water your life with fleeting moments that will nurture you deeply.

Two: How much time do you spend marveling at the little things in life? If you’re too busy to notice the way raindrops bead up on leaves following a spring rain, maybe it’s time to rethink your priorities. When was the last time you took a leisurely walk to enjoy nature? Not a power walk to lose weight or a run on a treadmill, but a meander through the woods? A gambol through the park? When was the last time you did something just for fun?

No excuses. No putting it off until you meet a deadline. No shirking your duty to the child inside calling you to come out and play. Just do it. It will feel as refreshing as that rain on the leaf. And you’ll go back to your to-do list with renewed vigor. Guaranteed.

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Killer Nashville

13 08 2010

Well, I’ll soon be off to Killer Nashville, the great crime writing conference. Looking for tips on how to bump off pesky characters, pull off a heist, or escape a jail sentence? You’ve come to the right place. Where else could you sit down to dinner with tablemates who are all interested in discussing the best way to poison people so it’s undectable. Sort of makes me a bit paranoid. I find myself curling my arm around my plate to protect my food, but who knows if that would help. One of these would-be writers might have experimented with their poisons in the kitchen.

So what turns people crazy enough to write about sneaky ways to kill other human beings, or to read these books by the dozens? Not sure I want to delve into the psychology behind it, but I once heard that crime writers are often perfectionists who love to solve puzzles. Perfectionists do tend to get themselves all worked up over small details & threaten to kill people who mess up their orderly lives. So I’d suggest you steer clear of perfectionists when you’re choosing a spouse or a friend. You never know when they might knife you in the back.

Here’s a schedule if you’re interested in attending. Keynote speaker is Jeffery Deaver; find out more about him on his website. Agent and editor pitch sessions are included in the registration price. Conference runs from Thursday evening, August 19, to Sunday afternoon, August 22, 2010. Hope to see you there.