Yesterday I mentioned all the goals that I'm juggling: freelancing, blogging, working on my novels, ebook ideas, projects around the house, riding more frequently, practicing the piano, reading... and that's on top of the work I do with kids and at the barn. It's too much to manage a lot of the time, and as a result about half of those things fall by the wayside at any one time.
The solution is, of course, to do fewer things... but I have to confess, I like having lots of interests. I don't want to completely give up some things in order to spend more time on others. So what I need to do, for me, is figure out what things I'm wasting my time doing -- and get rid of them.
Easier said than done, of course, but I feel like I'm making some progress. I need income, of course, so there's only so much of my breadwinning tasks that I can get rid of. Luckily I enjoy my jobs (freelancing, childcare, and doing chores at the barn), so I wouldn't eliminate them entirely.
I can, however, say goodbye to individual aspects that are proving to take from me more than they give. That was my incentive for giving one of my families notice recently. I've been working weekends for this family for around 3.5 years, and after some passive aggressive behavior when I would call in sick, I started feeling extremely underappreciated. At the same time, they were demanding more and more of me, to the point that I started referring to them as my "give a mouse a cookie" family.
The last straw was when my rat got really sick, and was clearly near dying. I realized he was going to need to be nursed through the weekend, and let them know I had to cancel. They did their usual passive aggressive thing of not responding to me at all, and never asked how he was or what had happened, even the next time I saw them.
My rat died a few days later.
Contrast this with my other families, who have given me time off when other pets have needed to go to the vet or passed away. Contrast this also with my clients, who all gave me several extra days on looming deadlines so that I could take the rest of the week off (my rat died on a Thursday).
With so many responsibilities jostling for position, I have no space in my life for people who are difficult, demanding, and insensitive, even if they contribute to my income. Income is replaceable. My time is not.
I have to confess, giving notice felt good. It also felt long overdue. It made me realize that I need to take a hard look at my life, and weed out people and things that aren't beneficial to me or contributing in some way to my long-term goals.