All the Balls

These days, I’ve been feeling like I’m juggling lots of balls and I feel like I’m dropping just about everything. I’m not, but I am. I can look at the last two months (from the beginning of the year), and I’ve completed two books. That’s big. I’ve been being a mom. I’ve been having dental work and helping my husband through a miserable wisdom teeth extraction complete with dry sockets.

All the same, I’ve let a lot of balls drop. I’m not sure why. Am I disorganized? Taking too much on? Not using my time wisely? Probably all of the above. I know that things crop up and the next thing I know, I’m dropping a ball.

Why am I talking about this? I find it’s one of those things that’s hideously embarrassing to me and also makes me feel incredibly stressed. Like constant balled up painful stomach and a headache. Plus like most everybody else, I worry about money and paying bills. And then there’s the political stuff going on. A lot of that eats me up, but it’s not going away soon.

A lot of people have this sort of stress. I know exercise can help. Meditation. Yoga. I’ve not learned the latter two. I get in some of the first, but ironically, that’s the thing that goes first because it’s not got a deadline of any kind. It’s the least insistent of things. I know I should put it first, but a lot of times I just don’t.

I don’t know a lot about what I’m going to do about it. I used to keep lists of things to-do. That helped me feel less stressed because at least I wouldn’t forget stuff I needed to do. So I need to do that again. Why did I stop? Things got away from me.

I keep telling myself that I just need to get myself caught up and then I can organize. Reading that, it’s kind of nuts, isn’t it? I should probably organize in order to catch up. So I make this post and promise myself that I will make an effort to start getting organized and chip away at the things I need to do and start planning a schedule in order to do that.

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About Diana Pharaoh Francis

A recovering academic, Diana Pharaoh Francis writes books of a fantastical, adventurous, and often romantic nature. She's owned by two corgis, spends much of her time herding children, and likes rocks, geocaching, knotting up yarn, and has a thing for 1800s England, especially the Victorians. Check out samples of just about everything on her website:


All the Balls — 11 Comments

  1. Strong sympathies–been there, lived that. Had a stroke instead of a t-shirt. Here’s something I learned after that–maybe it will help, everybody is different. Before I went to sleep at night, I learned to count up all the stuff I DID get done, and reflect on that. The rest could wait. It wasn’t going anywhere, but ticking off the mental list of “done!”s did help me to relax into sleep, at least.

  2. I understand this, all too well. I, too, keep telling myself that if I can just get a little bit more organized, it’ll be better. OTOH, I have just checked a book out of the library called Messy, which is about the value of disorder. So it could be that both you and I are overvaluing being organized.

    Also: a lot of this is Not Your Fault. Despite all the hype of how productive modern tech makes us, the reality is that we have to deal with a lot of things we never had to deal with before. Just keeping up with our tech takes a lot of time (my list of the undone is heavy on tech stuff). And if you’re dealing with teeth issues, you probably also are dealing with insurance companies and/or how to pay the bills for it. Those things take scads of time and cause lots of stress. Plus there’s the political situation, a major source of stress for us all.

    So give yourself a break. (I am writing this for me as much as for you.)

      • If both teeth and money are involved, none of this is your fault! Do what you can and let the other stuff go.

        I will report on the book when I get to it. (Six books out of the library right now, plus I just went to Powell’s, and haven’t even started most of my Christmas presents yet.)

  3. Wow, do I understand and sympathize!
    I like the idea of the “done” list. I’ll try that.

  4. I blush to admit that sometimes I put stuff on the list so that I will have extra stuff I can cross out, to feel like I’m getting somewhere, stuff like mailing bills or washing dishes. In particularly bad times, I have put down stuff like having breakfast or brushing teeth, but these tend to be the lists I don’t show anyone. We all manage any way we can.

    • I can’t help but think that even the little things matter. And really, there are time suck things that aren’t the sort of things that usually end up on lists. Like spending an hour picking up a kid from school or dropping him off. But the worst part is when you make a big list and don’t cross of many things. That happened to me yesterday, but I spent a lot of time revising, so . . . I messed with my own head.

  5. I keep a list of ‘could do’ jobs around – things that will only take a few minutes, that have no particular deadline, and which will need to be done at some point. Frequently they’re tedious and repetitive jobs, so I put them off to the last minute, or I flat out forget about them.

    Having that list means that if I have fifteen minutes to lunch, instead of opening a new tab and twiddling my thumbs, I can do something productive and feel good about it, and the backlog of tedious tasks shrinks by one little bit.

    The other thing is that I use personal journal software on my computer. (Other people keep bullet journals on paper. Whatever works.) It’s a bit like Twitter for one: I write down in the morning what I plan to do with my day, and write down what I’ve actually done. Seeing ‘such and such thing happened and so I had to deal with that’ (an appliance broke down; an urgent errand taking me out of the house most of the day, I had a brilliant idea and needed to follow through on it) lets me see that sometimes my ‘unproductive’ days were full of necessary and differently productive stuff.
    And sometimes I just have too many things on my plate and just cannot do all of them in a day, and that’s ok, too.