Busy woman must decide what's important in life

TIME SAVER

April 23, 1995|By Susan Hipsley | Susan Hipsley,Special to The Sun

If you didn't know Paula Peisner Coxe had written "Finding Time: Breathing Space for Women Who Do Too Much," you'd recommend she read it.

She's written four books altogether -- one that's due out at the end of this month, "Finding Love: Let Your Heart Be Your Guide" (Sourcebooks Inc., $7.95) -- and is starting a new business providing counseling for nursing-home residents. Prior to that, she worked as a management consultant for a major accounting firm. She got married four years ago and has two toddlers. The 39-year-old Oregon resident made time at 6:30 a.m. to answer a few questions.

Q: Are you a woman who does too much?

A: Definitely. We're all gender-based, please-aholics to some extent. If you overlay that with being an overachiever, then you're destined for a life of neuroses until you realize it is possible to live a harmonious, peaceful life. It's a question of having the courage to recognize that you deserve, can get and should have an enjoyable life.

Q: Aren't some people more comfortable and even healthier being busy?

A: It's not so much a question of being busy. It's more being productive. The key is knowing your activities are directed toward fulfilling your purpose in life. . . . So I would encourage people to have as productive and busy a life as they can, but knowing their purpose will help them minimize the chaos in it.

Q: How do you know when you're at that point of chaos?

A: Most of us know it instinctively. We don't feel satisfied. We go to bed so exhausted and think, 'Oh my gosh, what did I do today?' We wake up feeling like we have so much more to do today. We know the right level of effort and productivity.

Q: So everyone should gauge their own comfort level?

A: Yes. I know everybody wants to do all the things in the world, but it's sometimes OK to throw away your to-do list. Just remember what's important. Say you tell yourself, 'I'm just burned out today.' Or, 'This is going to be my weekend.' Then just do the few things you absolutely have to do. Why not manage your life to your highest degree of satisfaction? Because, in the end, if you're happy, you'll impart that to the others in your life.

Q: When do you know life is balanced?

A: When we're able to let go of the need to control things all the time, and we let things happen while we walk toward our purpose. . . . Finding time is not like driving down the street and coming to a stop sign and there it is. Finding time is a way of living your life.

IN TIME

What do you do to save time, to make life easier? What have you cut down on or cut out to make more time for yourself and your family? Have you found a way to simplify your lifestyle? Call the Sundial number that follows to tell us your tips and thoughts. Future columns will feature your ideas. Be sure to leave your name, city of residence and daytime phone number when you call Sundial, The Sun's telephone information service, at (410) 783-1800. In Anne Arundel County, call (410) 268-7736; in Harford County, (410) 836-5028; in Carroll County, (410) 848-0338. Using a touch-tone phone, punch in the four-digit code 6220 after you hear the greeting.

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