Education Sadness/Anxiety

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

Photo by Dionne Hartnett @

Whenever I take on a project, where I am in a leadership role, where there are deadlines, where visible, public failure is possible – I get positively crazed. The desire for perfection makes me hustle to work, work, work – and in striving for perfection, the craziness kicks in.

This weekend I was grading essays. The. Entire. Weekend. You could not get me to stop. My husband came in at 2 pm and begged me to stop. My son came in at 3 pm and begged me to stop. They tried to stop me. They offered food. “I’ll eat when I am finished,” I said.  I couldn’t be stopped. I was . . . driven.

Thankfully, I don’t have this problem with shopping (or sex) because it is powerful and unstoppable, and it would likely land me in the poorhouse or, in the case of the latter, in a starring role in an episode of Californication.

Hours later, after I’d completed all the grading, I felt miserable that I’d neglected my family all day. That isn’t right. I will try to be more mindful about this in the future. For once, I’d like to be in the club, rather than always being the “leader of the band.”

9 thoughts on “Biting Off More Than I Can Chew

  1. When I was a senior in college, at the end of my internship at Strong Memorial (just before Christmas break), one of my teachers told our class, “You’d better get your résumés ready because you will need them soon.” My parents had relocated to LaHoya, CA for my father’s sabbatical.

    I went to visit over the break but insisted on working on my resume the whole time, with the one exception of then taking the completed resume to a hospital there for a job. Needless to say, my parents were quite disappointed that I wouldn’t take the time to do any sight seeing with them. From my perspective, I thought that they should be proud of me for taking my responsibilities seriously. I had difficulty for many years being able to keep time spent on “important things” balanced with leisure time.

    Now I know exactly how to procrastinate!

  2. My whole life has been a project. Now things I don’t like to do, but must, are all projects. Everything else is a hobby. If you can fool yourself into thinking some of the projects are hobbies you will be happier. I call it psychological task enhancement. Some people instinctively make everything a project and ordeal. Putting up the Christmas Tree is a joy. But taking it down really is a project. Remember how we promise to wind the lights and cords so neatly for next year and then just say “to heck” and stuff them in a bag any old way?

  3. I find myself on the other end of the spectrum. The grass isn’t so green over here, either 🙂 Trying to get an important and necessary project/task done is really tough when I could be doing something much less important (knitting) or even more important (spending time with my kid) and more fun.

    I guess it’s a matter of balance, eh?

  4. The nature of teaching writing: the students’ work has to be read and feedback given. There are no scantrons that can do it for you. It’s laborious.

    Been there.

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