Please Don’t Ask

I have not written anything lately. I have been much too busy doing things. Volunteer activities. Dealing with my family. Beekeeping, at home for Bee Daddies Apiaries and helping friends and protegés. There are many interesting things to write about. I would like to share some of the fun points of life with my friends. I would like to update people with a few of the mishaps (perhaps someone else can learn from my mistakes). There are many pages of documentation in the fields of my interest that I think need to be written. However, writing is a time consuming activity for me … even when I am not trying to write well. I just can’t find the time for that.

I am trying to keep up with my sleep, eating and exercising on a regular basis. My health and my long-term survival depends critically on those. For anyone following my bariatric surgery results: I hit a plateau at about 265, and gained back about 15 pounds. (HW: 361, SW: 320, CW: 279). Family stress has a lot to do with that. To misquote John Candy from some movie: “I am overweight because I swallow a lot of my emotions. *chuckle* I also swallow a lot of hamburgers.”  So I am down 81 pounds from my lifetime high point. I can’t complain about that: No diabetes; Normal blood pressure; I am wearing clothes that were tight in the 1990’s; I can physically do things that were difficult or impossible before the surgery. However, I would like to do better.

It is all about time management. In my case … time mismanagement. I am trying to do too many things that all require a lot of detailed concentration or research. Although I am in “career hibernation” I still do a little bit of paid consulting … though I’ve been too busy to generate invoices and get paid for my work. It seems that everywhere I look, there is a new “shiny thing” that gets my attention and pulls me off track from what I was working on. Naturally, the beneficiaries of some of the projects that I started and have not finished inevitable come back asking when things can move forward … and I am the critical part.

My biggest problem with time management is that I lack the personal skill to say “no” when someone asks me for something. I am a natural problem-solver and I try to be helpful. When someone asks me a technical question, inevitably they ask “can you do that for me?” My answer should be “Yes, I can do that, but I won’t. You will have to hire or otherwise find someone who can do that for you. I don’t have any time left in my schedule.” Then I have to make sure that I don’t offer to explain to them how to find someone who can do it, or offer to help them find someone, or send them some information. I have to just smile, say no, stop, drop and roll away.

The current pace of my life is killing me. It will do me in faster than my obesity and a high-stress career was. I stopped working at a job that I really liked (usually) with people whom I enjoyed and respected, for a decent salary so that I could focus on the health of my mind and my body. Now I am working / volunteering myself to death for free (or a ridiculously low bill rate), and some of those things are just not as interesting or fulfilling as the “day job” used to be. None of it can compete with taking care of my bees and my garden and my wife.

I need to print up some cards to hand people when we talk. I am not mocking people with disabilities who can’t hear or speak and hand out cards that ask for help. On the contrary … I have a real problem here and I need help. If I can’t say what needs to be said, perhaps I can hand over a card when the conversation seems to be drifting toward a point where I will get myself into trouble. Maybe, to be fair, I should just hand a card to everyone I speak to.

Dear Friend or Colleague:

I am completely overwhelmed with volunteer, family and personal responsibilities. I have no time left in my schedule for the basic necessities of my health and well-being. I can’t accept any new projects or activities. I can’t even spare the time to talk about how someone else can do it, or who might be able to, or anything like that. I probably would like to. I love to talk about these things and help everyone I can. I am sure that your needs are worthy and interesting and might even be fun. However, I can’t do it now. I have too many commitments, not enough time and I am failing to deliver. My over-extension is affecting my health adversely.

I have to ask you for your help here. If you were going to discuss with me a problem in technology, archives, genealogy, or beekeeping that you need help with, inevitably I will feel tempted to offer some kind of help or advice. Please don’t ask. Please don’t accept the offer. Please try not to even allow me to engage in conversation about it because it is very very difficult for me to say “no” to such things.

Thank you!

One Reply to “Please Don’t Ask”

  1. It is pretty pathetic to be the only person who comments on your own blog. 🙂

    Upon reading this post, Paula suggested that my card is way too long. “One sentence. Two at the most.”

    Ayup … that is where my time goes too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.