Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Time Management Tuesday: Gail Are You Grieving Over Time Spent Healing?

Yesterday I learned that the surgery I had a little over a week and a half ago revealed that I do not have anything life threatening. Quite honestly, indicators that all was going to turn out well started turning up two weeks ago, so I don't want to make too much of this. Nonetheless, yesterday was a turning point, and I am grateful that I'm not going to be fighting for my life any time soon. At least, not over this particular issue.

Last week, though, after returning from my weekend in the hospital, which I rather enjoyed because  I had my own room and nurses in yakking with me every few hours and telling me how wonderful I was, I found myself mourning over what I had hoped to do with my December and January. I lost a big chunk of the time between Christmas and our personal retreat week to a lingering cold and harsh cough that afflicted a big chunk of the population in the northeast. Then I went right into pre-op testing and mind prep. Dealing with health angst and post-surgical fatigue and soreness were not among my goals and objectives for the early part of this year.

I did find giving a unit of time a day to the manuscript I've been revising since the November writers' retreat hugely diverting back in December. It was a great release from health worry. And I came up with an additional revision idea for that same manuscript while in the hospital as a result of a Yoga Journal article I read while I was there. I did manage a few sprints and some correspondence last week after I got home. But, you know what? It turns out that I am not one of those artists who can sweat and create while achey and tired. None of this creating art under any circumstances for me. Yeah, that's a disappointment. Last week I was very disappointed.

I was disappointed because last year I felt that I was making progress rebuilding my career after half a decade of loss because of the economy's impact on the publishing industry and our family's struggles with elder care issues, which are hugely time and energy consuming. At the very least, I was creating a writing lifestyle that I could enjoy no matter what said lifestyle produced in the way of publishable work. I couldn't maintain that lifestyle this past month. I couldn't push ahead on my plans. All was lost.

Pull Yourself Together, Gail

Some of what I've been experiencing may be a normal response to surgical trauma. I will spare you the details of what that guy did to me, but if we'd been in a back alley instead of a robotic surgical unit, the law would be looking for him. Some of what I've been experiencing may be due to the effort I'm accustomed to giving to managing my time. My time has not been my own at all recently, and I'm not liking that.

This week I've progressed to the point of pulling myself up off the mat and doing something about this situation. What am I going to do?

Keep in Mind the Lessons of Zen

I am struggling with desire here, desire for things to be different than they are. Desire for things to be the way I expected them to be. I am also not doing a good job of living mindfully. Instead of living in this moment, I'm regretting the past and that I couldn't deal better with what happened then. I need to focus on what I can be doing this week or even this day. That is how Zen applies to time management.

The Unit System to the Rescue

What success I've had over the last few weeks was definitely due to working with the unit system. Planning to work in short units of time is perfect for someone on pain medication. You can do a forty-five minute unit or a twenty-minute sprint when the meds have you at your best. With surgical recovery (and I'm speaking from experience here--I had a lot of surgery back in the day), you get better every day, so work units can be added as you improve.

I have that manuscript revision to work on, and an idea that involves beginning to revise for something new before I finish the revision I've been working on. (Thank you trip to the hospital so I read that Yoga Journal.) I started my statics and dynamics for writers essay Monday. I have some things I want to do to my information at the NESCBWI website and to my Twitter feed. Maybe I will sign up for a day at the NESCWI conference in May.

Oh, yeah, and I've got an idea for a time management post relating to the Gerald Manley Hopkins' poem I referred to in my blog post title.

I am on my way back.


tanita✿davis said...

It is the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Or, Tanita, as the case may be.
And, yes. Time spent regretting the time I didn't spend on my work is a long-way-around way of feeling sorry for myself, which is aggravating. REALLY aggravating. ::sigh::

It is what it is, as they say, especially when it's medical crap outside of your control - I've been there, too, this past year. March was lost to that entirely. But, you've been clawing your way up the steep sides of this time management issue for awhile, and the thing which I see that gives the most success in this life is persistence...and you see to have much of that.


Gail Gauthier said...

Yup. Mourning for time, mourning for ourselves.

During the period leading up to the surgery, I learned that I am descended from a man who was taken captive by the Iroquois during a well-known massacre in Canada. And he survived years of captivity and was released.

There's my model for persistence.

Jen Robinson said...

I, too, know how frustrating it is to lose time due to medical issues. I'm glad you're on the road back, and that this isn't life-threatening.

For me, I try to appreciate the time that isn't lost, and that I am able to do things. Plus being ill and in the hospital and all of that usually brings extra reading time ;-)

Sending persistent thoughts of good cheer!

Gail Gauthier said...

Oh, yes, Jen, reading time. And as far as I'm concerned, being ill justifies reading guilty pleasures. I've been reading serial mysteries on my Kindle.

Jeannine Atkins said...

Getting yourself taken care of is huge, and it sounds like you can celebrate the results. So human nature to think, hey, I'm okay, so ... what else should I have been accomplishing. Truly it's not every person who gets the help they need. Doing your elder care, I expect you know that. Congratulations and yay for chatty nurses enjoying your company.

I hope you can get in a retreat week when you're feeing good. And just start again. So glad you are on the mend!

Gail Gauthier said...

Yeah, Jeannine, retreat week definitely was a downer this year, with the surgery hanging over our heads. It was a timeshare week that we would have lost if we hadn't used it, or we would have cancelled and gone somewhere later in the year. On top of everything else, there was no snow activity because there was no snow.

The nurses were incredible. I have a short story idea regarding them.