Clydesdaleism: noun. Medical condition. To define oneself by one’s work and work ethic. If left untreated, can lead to inferiority complex, over-committal, insomnia. Treatment: chilling the fuck out.

I have some behavior to explain.

I don’t know if any of these people are actually upset with me, but I’m upset with myself. Being pissed at myself is gnawing at me, and you know what happens when something gnaws at me. Yep, typing.

This is a blog, not a private email, because I feel like other people may be able to relate. Also because I feel like the depth of “I’m an asshole” that I feel can only be expressed through public admission of wrong doing. I have earned a scarlet letter, and now it’s time to wear the damn thing.

To my friends, on whom I flaked:
If you feel dissed by my having to flake on our plans, I’m sorry. It sucks. I feel like a dick. I didn’t want to flake on you, but I had to. I feel like I completely failed at managing my time for the last week, and that led to having to go into Damage Control Mode. I hate Damage Control Mode because it only becomes necessary when I have otherwise failed at managing my life. “Fail” is the 4-letter f-word.

I know you probably think it’s suspect that I did find time to spend several hours with someone else the day before. To defend that, I have this excuse: he is just damned easy to be around, adn I can’t work at night anyway. I am stressed out about one thing or another (usually 3 or 4 things at once) all day, everyday. I just wanted to go watch a movie instead of sitting in my house, staring at the wall, trying to sleep. I know it looks bad. I just wanted to go watch a movie.

To my client, whose deadline got pushed back:
I hate missing deadlines. It makes me feel like I have failed at time management. It’s freelance commandment #2, right after “thou shalt not pad timesheets.” However, I came to a crossroads where I knew that I was either going to have to push back the deadline or start half-assing. In my efforts to do my best work, I had to go learn to do some new things, and that ate up more time than expected.

I was cruising along pretty well, but then more hours came in at my day job. I had to take them. I haven’t had a 40-hour week since April of 2009, and I need the money. Also, I need to not piss off my boss. I have been clamoring for hours for a year, so to say “oh, I couldn’t do all that cause I had a freelance project” would almost definitely guarantee that I would never again see that many hours. After your project is done, I need my boss to not hate me. She’s long-term. Your project isn’t. My loyalties had to lie with the long term.

To my mom, whose visit is a day shorter because I have to work all the time:
You changed my diapers, you raised me, and in present day, you’ve saved my ass on at least two occasions. One would think that the least I could do is let you come down on Friday instead of Saturday. But Friday is billable, and it’s already driving me crazy to take Saturday off. I am doing this because I am trying to pay you back. I am doing this because I’m am trying to not ask you to save my ass for a third time. I hate needing my ass saved.

To summarize:
I’m doing the best I can. In most cases, my best is usually good enough.** My best effort hasn’t been good enough for the last month or so, and that is eating a hole in my brain. I hate it. My eyes fly open at 6am, with my brain obsessed by trying to fix a slew of situations it can’t fix. Yesterday, with my brain locked up from 4 days of only 3 hours’ sleep, I hit a wall.

“Well, you can’t do anything until you sleep. It’s been too many days. We are not thinking clearly. So, what do we have to do to be able to sleep?”

“Cancel tomorrow’s plan. Push back the deadline. Take a handful of Nytol.”

“Do it.”

“But couldn’t we just stay up extra this week and get this all done?”

“Dude, you can’t even type right now. What do you think your odds are of being able to build a site without spending hours fixing stupid mistakes? Your brain knives are not sharp, and you know it.”

“OK, fine.”

“Oh, and don’t forget to wrap that gift, sign that card, go to that wedding, and find time to work out.”

“Oh my god, shut up.”

So, yeah. Time management failure. I had to stop and reboot everything to keep the system from bursting into flames.


**My best is usually good enough for other people. It’s never good enough for me. Self-satisfaction is the road to laziness.

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