Setting Boundaries

This month and I suspect the upcoming months are going to present a challenge for me in terms of setting boundaries on my time. It's come to my attention that my volunteer and non-paying activities are starting to outnumber and take over my income-producing activities. Someone showed me a T-shirt in a catalog that said, "STOP ME FROM VOLUNTEERING AGAIN!"  That's me.

The problem is, I really like a lot of my non-paying activities. They include:

  • Attending a weekly networking meeting
  • Participating in a Toastmasters group
  • Mentoring two young women as they start their own businesses
  •  Reading to middle-grade kids through a disadvantaged youth program
  • Teaching Networking skills to women at a non-profit Women's Resource Center
  • Serving on the board and as a group facilitator for our local writer's group.
  • Serving on the board for our local Toastmasters group
  • Serving on the board for the International Cat Writers Association
  • Attending networking events through our Greensboro Merchants Association
  • Meeting with my critique group for children's writers
  • Blogging
  • And soon to include more work on animal rights and establishing a shelter! =)

Part of my issue is I think, "Oh, it's only an hour's meeting. I can do that," forgetting to factor in 1 1/2 hours drive time, the fact that meetings run long, and the "to-do" list of things I'll emerge from the meeting with.

I'm taking baby steps to remedy this. I've announced I'm leaving the board of my writers group and stepping down as facilitator.  I'm also (after one more visit, because I promised) going to stop reading to the kids. A good cause, but it's over an hour away and that's just too far. My Toastmasters group asked me just this week if I would serve on the awards committee and mentor a new member and I said no to both. It was hard--I'd love to be on the awards committee and I'd enjoy mentoring a new speaker. But there's just no time.

Some things won't go away because I don't want them to. I love blogging. I love my networking group and my children's writers group. Being on the Board of the Cat Writers brings me contacts and income, since I write for a lot of pet magazines. But I may have to take a hard look at some of the other items.

It's a good problem to have, being interested in so many different things. And it might be a little more manageable if I didn't live so far away.  And it's not that I have a hard time saying no to people as it is I really want to be a part of all these things. But I'd also like a little more balance in my life.  We all would.