Ok, I confess. I took a week off. I write one short blog each week, sometimes informational in nature, other times comprised of my observations and musings. It’s more for my own writing experience. Or at least as a personal goal, that is why I write, to grow comfortable with writing, to develop a style and in the process, maybe spark some thoughts in others.
But last week my schedule seemed to go haywire. Too many events, obligations, and deadlines converged. Something had to go. On the chopping block, the blog. On one hand, no big deal, I could pick it up again. But on the other, the missed blog perturbed me. Each day that followed my usual posting time bugged me.
As a result, I have been giving some thought to how to deal with these moments, when I feel like I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. There is that feeling of panic, not knowing where to start. It can be paralyzing, to the point that nothing gets done. But usually reason takes over and I find myself dealing with it. I’m not suggesting my way works for everyone, or even anyone, but I thought I’d share my approach.
- Breath – Usually stepping back a bit, after a few deep breaths, it’s not as overwhelming as it first seemed. Even if it is as bad as I first thought, the breathing (usually a short meditation for me) makes it less emotional and I can think about how to deal with the multitude of obligations.
- Break it down into small packets – If I can break it down into separate projects that gives the universe some structure. Then I break each project down into discrete steps. Why? Two reasons: It helps me see how to get from start to finish and it helps me decide when to do each step, sometimes juggling or intermixing steps from several projects to be most efficient.
- Prioritize – When I step back, I realize that although there are many looming deadlines, they are not 100% overlapping. Some are truly “must do now” high priority, and others must get done soon, but a 1-2 days stagger will suit just fine.
- Leave time for fun/relaxation somewhere in there – Much as everything is closing in, having a few pods of time just for me (outside of the looming work) helps keep the energy up. The pods can be small things – a coffee with my husband, a meditation, a sit in the sun, a nice glass of wine at the end of a long evening, cooking dinner or a short walk. Any or all of these is a recharge and the next tasks in the queue seem easier. It also gives me something to look forward to when I am completing the earlier tasks.
- Cross it off a list – I’m a list person. So, when I break it down into projects and then divide each project into tasks, all of this goes onto a list on my computer or on a list made with old-fashioned pen to paper. And then? Each thing finished gets a strikeout and with it, a feeling of satisfaction. It’s part of the beauty of breaking things down into manageable pieces, I can finish these subparts one by one and get the good feeling that comes with checking them off the list.
At the end of the chaos, when I do reach the end of the week or whatever brought the deluge: Relish in the finish!