Wasting Time? Maybe Not…

I used to be really productive. I had periods where I could write upwards of 10 articles a day. Once I wrote 19 articles in one day; short articles but all on different topics. Part of that explains why the first 3 years of this blog saw me writing 300 articles a year. It’s taken me 9 years to write the other 900; isn’t that a shame?

I wasn’t only writing at the time. I had a blog commenting regiment where I made sure to comment on at least 10 blogs a day, including weekends. It was part of my marketing and publicity strategy; it worked wonders.

I also kept up with marketing, which for me is different than it is for most people. I market multiple services, which means I need a schedule to help me determine which venture I’m directly marketing for the day.

Finally I was reading a book a week and consuming lots of articles online. Luckily I’d stopped playing video games, which gave me time for the other stuff. What I gave up was sleeping. Trust me, sleeping 4 hours or less over a long period of time isn’t helpful, even if my output was dramatic.

Things have changed since those days. Lately I feel like I waste a lot of time. I don’t produce as much content as I used to. I don’t have as many contracts as I used to. I’m tired often, to the extent that I’ll “wake up” while I’m sitting at my computer, look at the time and wonder where it went.

Of course life’s changed for me. Mom lives with me now and she has dementia. During the night, every time I wake up I check my phone to look at the camera to see if Mom’s still asleep. If not, and she’s either sitting on the edge of the bed or has totally disappeared I have to jump up, check on her and take her to the bathroom unless luckily she’s already in there… which is rare.

I have to check her bed because I know there’s wetness somewhere, and I have to change sheets and paper chucks so I can put her back in bed and go back myself. However, it takes me between 30 minutes to 2 hours to get back to sleep, which means sometimes I don’t get back to sleep before I have to get her up, cleaned and dressed and fed and have a few moments to myself. Basically this means I get between 3 1/2 hours and 5 1/2 hours on a regular basis; is it a wonder I’m tired?

For a while I was upset with myself, feeling old and wondering if I was in mental and physical decline. It’s at times like this that one needs to reflect on what’s going on, how things have and need to be changed, and come to grips with a new reality.

For instance, I really don’t put out the amount of content I used to. But when I think about it, I’m still putting out content, and many of my articles are double the size that a lot of my early articles were. Back then you could get away with 400 to 500 word articles and search engines thought you were the bomb; these days, if you’re not writing at least 750 words they’ll totally ignore you unless you’ve written some exclusive stuff. I have a lot more articles that end up being 2,000 words plus, which was a rarity back in the day. Less output… not really…

Back then I also didn’t have a YouTube channel, let alone 2 channels. For the most part I do a video a week for both channels, sometimes 2. They don’t have great production value I’ll admit but at least I’m staying fairly consistent.

I still have 5 blogs, but I’ve come to grips with that as well. I have two blogs where new or updated content is pretty important for possible business reasons, and I like both of them a lot. On one of those, my business blog, I just wrote my 1,400th article.

The other three… well, catch as catch can works for me. It should have been close to impossible that I was writing at least a post a week for my 5 blogs and two posts a week for two other blogs I wasn’t getting paid for (though one of them is a barter agreement so in a way that’s like being paid lol), one of them I’m still keeping up with.

The fact is that I’m getting older and it’s harder to sustain everything I was able to do before. I may not look it (depending on who you ask lol) but I’m almost 60 years of age and diabetic, but I’m beating odds by keeping my glucose down, losing weight and losing inches (though my stomach doesn’t show it; what’s up with that?) on a consistent basis. I walk between 6 and 10 miles a day, and haven’t been under 11K steps since Halloween 2014 (I remember that because it’s also the last time I was really sick).

The hardest person to compare yourself to is… yourself! I’m not a shell of myself, but I’m not the person I was almost 20 years ago. In some ways I’m better, and that puts a smile on my face. In others, I’ve worked on coming to grips that life is a process of give and take, and there’s only so much time in a day and responsibilities shift.

My mother’s not all that hard to take care of but I take her to the bathroom every 90 minutes, have set times for meals, have to work hard to keep her awake during the early part of the day so she’ll sleep at night, slip snacks and liquid into her to keep her as healthy as possible. All that and, well, she’s not the happiest person you’ve ever met. lol It’s not hard but it’s constant; I glory in the three days a week when she goes off to the senior center and I have daytime to myself; whew!

I’m learning lessons now that I should have learned years ago; some of them I’m actually listening to. If I miss my time deadline in posting something new or updated, I’m not fretting over it anymore. It’ll get done and get out, but if I need to take an extra week for my mental health, so be it.

I’m still marketing myself on social media along with occasionally sending snail mail out to potential clients. If I’m not as regimented at it as I used to be, so be it.

What’s important is completing things that have a time deadline, most of which involves getting paid by someone else; dedication in those instances are crucial. Doctor’s appointments and such as also important because they cost you money whether you show up or not. Eating, relaxing and taking time for myself… well, those I still need to work on, especially on my free days.

I know, you’re waiting for the point of this article. lol The point is it’s okay to take life at the pace you feel comfortable with as long as you’re moving forward or you’re comfortable with where you are. Be an honest evaluator of yourself and embrace the good and most important things and forgive yourself for things you’ve moved to the side over time.

Stick to your personal script, whether it says you produce one piece of content a week, market one day a week or give yourself a week off every once in a while. As long as you’re not hurting yourself, it’s all good.

At the same time, find ways you’ve either improved yourself or your life and give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishments. If you haven’t improved, think of something, anything, and give it a go. It doesn’t have to be a big thing but it needs to be something you actually want to do.

I’m looking at things much differently now. Am I wasting time? Nah! Am I living the good life? Not exactly, but I’m pushing forward. Who knows; maybe one of these days I’ll actually sit down and watch a movie once a week in my house. We’ll see; at least I’m keeping up with my reading. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Wasting Time? Maybe Not…”

  1. Mitch – I don’t know how you do what you with your mom. That has be so exhausting! You are right about needing sleep.
    I came back from vacation with a cold and the jet lag killed me. I awoke feeling like a train hit me. Then the cold turned to pneumonia, and it’s not going away quickly like it used to. Mid 50s on you don’t recover as fast – and I hate to admit it!
    I like you don’t stress about writing as much and taking care of clients now is #1. So glad I’m working from home because I’d be out of work for weeks with this bout of pneumonia 🙁
    Hang in there, I think you doing amazing job!

    1. Thanks Lisa. The last time I was sick followed some serious flying. I went from Memphis to home for 2 days, off to Orlando for 3 days, San Diego for 3 days, home for one and back to Memphis. I felt off for two weeks and when I finally came back home for good I was totally spent. I hope your pneumonia goes away soon… you’re right about those mid 50’s!

  2. I salute you. It is not all that common to come across a child caring for a parent in today’s world where the elderly are consigned to old people’s homes or worse, just abandoned. I can write hair raising stories about such parents in my part of the world.

    I wish that I had some time to waste!

    1. Rummuser, you’re allowed to waste as much time as you wish. I remember when you were taking care of your father; it was inspiring, though I had no idea what it was all about until I started taking care of my mother.

      BTW, I got to your like or respected post too late to leave an opinion, so I’m mentioning it now. In my personal life I don’t separate the two. In my business life, and when I was an everyday employee in a leadership position, it was more important to be respected than to be liked, but being liked wasn’t all that bad. 🙂

  3. You’re not wasting time, like you said you’re living the good life. I’m happy to learn that you’re losing weight and keeping up with your walking routine, even while being responsible to taking care of your mother. I have to get back on track and you have motivated me to get busy.

    1. Glad to be of service. lol Actually, you’ve revamped your YouTube channel, and you’re way ahead of me when it comes to editing and some of the cool things you do. Course I miss seeing your steps being higher on Fitbit; maybe one of these days… 🙂

  4. Thanks for sharing the article, Mitch. Having time for relaxing is not wasting time as long as it is not too much and you still allocate the time needed to put on the work 🙂

    Don’t let the work overtiring you.

    Also glad to hear about you taking care of your mother. Deep down, your mother must be proud of you. And it is of course never be a time wasting if you spend time taking care of your parents as they are very important in our life

    1. I think I let a lot of things over-tire me but I’ve reached the mindset of realization that I can only do so much on my own and that I need to allow myself a break every once in a while. For instance, I didn’t write a new blog post this week because I had a chance to be away from home a few days while a relative sat with Mom. I knew if I took my laptop with me I’d spend half the time working; that’s no way to rest.

      I also think Mom cares, even if she can’t express it anymore. I’m proud to have the ability to keep her with me, and I plan on doing that for as long as possible.

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