Biting off more than I can chew…

“The hard worker.” That’s what my dad called me when I was growing up. Looking back, I see that I have a long history of biting off more than I can chew. I don’t know why I lack the ability to say “no,” but it’s bitten me in the tush this time. I swear, it doesn’t happen all at once.  It’s like the old saying – put a frog in a pot of boiling water and he’ll jump out, put him in a pot of regular water and slowly let it come to a boil and he will cook.  I’m cooking now.

It started off innocently enough with taking a labor-intensive board position with my running club as the volunteer director. The individual I was replacing made it look really easy, but it’s turning into an almost full-time job to keep up with the rigorous schedule.  Post the link for volunteers for the race in four weeks, constant drumming up of volunteers for water stops, last minute assignment of volunteers, Friday Night Load-In, race day, hold a drawing for volunteer prizes, send out thank you emails, follow up to make sure they are received, prepare the expense report, go to the board meeting, drum up volunteers for Shoreline SpruceUp, darn it – forgot to post the link to the next race for sign ups, drum up volunteers… see, this is a vicious cycle. I was pretty much getting the hang of it all and starting to really do well – calendar

But I couldn’t leave well enough alone. The high school band needs help? Sure, I’ll help.  Offering to help out on occasion somehow led to me being the treasurer of the band boosters.  Dang! That’s a big job, too! Learn Quickbooks on the fly, process payments as they are received, drum up ideas to fundraise because we can’t collect activity fees from most of the kids, beg, plead, start over. Quickly run this report that you can’t figure out.  Yet another vicious cycle of silliness that I have gotten myself into.

“But wait – there’s more!”  Let’s continue training for a marathon!

And to top it all off, let’s have the 16-year-old FINALLY ask for help with school.  I spent three nights this week working on homework and teaching him how to study for an AP test til after 11pm.  I LOVE the fact that he came to me and I am so happy to help him, but I am so phenomenally behind in everything I have committed to.  I feel like I am in a reactionary hamster wheel.  Marathon training is still hanging on by a thread.  Surprisingly, I have kept up with the runs, but started slacking on strength training because of my work obligations (also affectionately called, New York doesn’t respect my lunch hour and thinks it is perfectly acceptable to schedule every meeting between 11 and 2).

I know these days because I have lived them before, each time swearing I wouldn’t get myself into this mess again.  These are the days that we get late notices for the utilities, not because we don’t have the money to pay them, but because I forgot to pay them and I look up and realize a WHOLE MONTH has passed since I paid bills last. So, I bought a planner a couple of months ago to try to keep everything straight.  So far, it’s been OK.  Not great, but it’s sort of starting to work.  The thing I can’t get away from is my “to do” lists.  I finally realized yesterday that the to do list was merely me keeping track of all the stuff that was slipping through the cracks rather than letting me live in my deluded little world that everything is roses and unicorns.

There isn’t an option for me to get out of this mess I am in, other than letting it run its course and holding on for dear life. Last night, I stayed home and did not go to the high school football game to watch the boy perform. I spent the entire evening catching up on a month’s worth of administrative crap. I also went to get a much-needed pedicure. It’s amazing how much work you can get done on a laptop in a nail salon. Do I want a manicure too? I have a laptop and a bag full of stuff I think I’m getting done, does it look like I can do without my hands for an hour?

  Does anyone else do this? How do you learn to moderate the crazy?  What are your tricks for getting it all done?