Wednesday, January 23, 2013


By: Diane Kniowski

Life gets busy. I don’t know how it happens, but it happens. I try to have a calendar. I try to have a schedule. I try to set up a structure that I can function in. I even build in ‘down time’ on my calendar.  Life doesn’t happen that way. You really can’t structure conversation, chatting in the hall, running into someone at the store, deciding to window shop, becoming a friend, developing as a person.  But life gets busy. It seems there are so many things that need to be done. It seems there are so many lists left undone.  In trying to build a schedule to help me, did I build a schedule that prohibits me?

I had to stop and take a look at my life. I had to look at what I thought I could do if I got organized. I had to look at what I thought I could accomplish if I followed a schedule, a routine or a time table.  Do you know what? I just got caught in my own system. I set myself up on a calendar with unrealistic goals and no flexibility for being myself.

I had a really rough 2012. I was overcommitted in every way. I was overcommitted at my job. I was overcommitted in my personal life. I was overcommitted in my social life. I was tired and felt like I was never done. I did it to myself. I thought I was being smart, efficient and effective. I was building a trap.

Yes. I accomplished more in 2012 that in the last 3 years combined! It was just too big of a cost. I lost such a big part of me. I lost my ability to be casual and spontaneous. I lost my ability to relax. That impacted everything else about me.

After being honest with myself and reviewing my previous year, I made a promise to myself. Cut back. Cut out. Chill out.  Enjoy the little prizes and let go of the aggressive big goals for a year.

I am starting to embrace the new me in 2013. I am a chatty person. I am a window shopper. I love to walk slow and listen to people. I love days when I don’t wear a watch and have no where to go. I love to linger in bed. I love to hang out in my pajamas and drink tea. I love to walk alone on a nature trail. I love time with animals and I love snow-shoeing in the quiet snowfall. I like it slow.

I still have my calendar. The first thing I did was build in days with NO appointments during my week. I also made sure that 2 weekends each month are free! I also promised myself to book no more than 2 appointments on any day. We will see how that goes, but so far, it’s good.

I don’t want to be the person who judges herself by her accomplishments. I want to be the person who did a really good job and then went out to celebrate with a great group of friends, who stayed too late and didn’t care.

In 2013, figure out the best gift to give yourself. And then do it.


Lynn Doezema said...

I couldn't agree more! I'm learning to cut back (and not feel guilty about it), and focus on a few select priorities. Love your slogan. I'm gonna start using that!

Patricia Kiyono said...

Great advice. And so difficult to follow when you're so used to going 90 miles an hour all the time. Hope your mantra works, because we'd love to see you enjoying yourself!

Cheryl said...

Good for you, Diane! After 32 years with Steelcase, I cut back (read:early retirement and permanent location in Hawaii). Forced time off until I started my new job in real estate (five months and something to do with it was cheaper if I waited) gave me time to realize it's okay to not do everything. Really. The world doesn't fall apart. The laundry still gets done.
The important things are family and yourself. Take care of them, and the rest falls in place.