People are always going to want a piece of your time. It’s up to you to balance your time. It’s okay to say “no.”
I think I already know this. But sometimes I feel so guilty saying no. It's not even (mostly) a question of good use of time/bad use of time (grading vs. words with friends). It's more often a question of priorities: Good, Better, Best. I know all of this. But why can't I feel that it's okay, sometimes, to just say that I can't fit one more thing in? Is it because I could if I wanted it enough? I usually can fit in what I want. Usually.
I think one problem is that we are conditioned to think some things are better than others, even though the reverse may be true. It feels more productive to be doing homework (there's always a paper waiting to be drafted or revised or student papers waiting to be graded) or housework (there's always dusting to be done or floors to be swept or bathrooms to be cleaned) than to be baking cookies to take to an elderly neighbor or snuggling with your husband. Those are "extras" in life. They just don't seem as good in the American culture. Keeping busy seems better than being still--but we need to be still to hear the things we need to hear.
So, balance. Breathe. Yes. Balance. (even though I just agreed to a meeting for the only hour I had open in the day tomorrow). I will balance on Saturday. Yes. Saturday.