Overworked: There is never enough time

I came across an interesting blog, which can help me share some thoughts with a daily one word prompt…..today via Daily Prompt: Overworked .  I love this idea of taking on a one word challenge.

I learned early on all about hard work.  I grew up on a dairy farm.  The cows were always there, the barn chores were always there, the garden-cooking-canning was always there.  In short, there was always something to do.

I carried that training on into my work life after graduating college as a veterinary technician.  In my late 20’s and early 30’s I was the hospital director of a veterinary hospital, grooming, shop and large boarding kennel.  I started at 7.30 am, and most days didn’t leave until at least 6 pm.  I worked in the grooming staff most morning through early afternoon.  2 days a week I worked those mornings in the hospital assisting with surgery.  Whenever a pet came in that needed radiographs (x-rays), blood tests or in hospital treatment, I was called.  Meanwhile, I often walked through the kennel to check on the boarding pets, and did everything from scoop poop to hose runs.  24/7/365

In the meantime, I also served our kennel association, first on the Education Committee, then by chairing the Education Committee, then as regional director, and ultimately as president.  All while running the pet care facility.

And if that wasn’t enough, I also started my own consulting business.  I wrote for several pet magazines and became fairly well known in the grooming industry educational circles. It seemed like I never had enough time in my day to get everything done.

By my mid-40’s, I “retired” from the veterinary facility, but took on a part time job with the kennel association writing educational programs, still traveled doing speaking at grooming and kennel association meetings, and started running the pet transportation business (Airborne Animals LLC).

The pet shipping overtook almost everything else, consuming all my time.  I eventually gave up most of the writing, traveling and speaking because I couldn’t be 2 places at once, doing 2 jobs at once.  It was impossible to be overworked and do quality work at the same time.

At some point I learned an important lesson.  There are only 24 hours in a day, and 60 minutes per hour.  EVERYONE gets the same amount of time.  No one can buy more time.  And once it is spent, there is no way to get it back.

I look back now and wonder how I did it all.  I still work some long days, but I don’t have the stamina I did when I was 30. These days, I look for ways to slow down, and find the simple joy in everyday jobs.  To work smarter, not harder.  I enjoy what I am doing in the moment.  How nice to be in the kitchen and take a few minutes to watch the birds busy at the feeders.  It’s lovely to smell the fresh air after a summer rain, or sheets fresh off the line.  I can putter in the garden and get my hands dirty, and not always have to hurry through a task just to get on to the next thing.

I’m giving up being overworked. I will do what I can today, and know there will always be more on my list for tomorrow.  Work is never done.  But in giving up being overworked, I give up some stress.  And without as much stress, my body can be healthier.  I can be nicer (I know I get short when I am stressed).  I will give up feeling tired, sleep deprived and feeling overburdened. I’ve been burned out and it is not fun.

Too much work means you are sacrificing other things that are probably much more important: time with loved ones, time to laugh, time to think and be creative.

I don’t want to have regrets that I didn’t spend enough time with family or friends.  Or that I didn’t get to do the things I wanted to do.  Life should be enjoyed.  And while “work” provides some satisfaction in a job well done, so does a nice dinner with a table full of laughter and love, & a garden full of home grown food on that table.

I don’t remember what I did that was fun while I was overworked, but I know now that I would rather have happy memories and the homestead over anything I did at a desk.