What a nice holiday break.
For the first time since my pregnancies, I put an “Out of Office” notice on my email for two whole weeks. Of course, I still checked my emails, but for the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel the pressure to respond immediately. I enjoyed my friends and family. I got lost in home improvement projects and adventurous activities.
And then, January 2nd arrived.
I sat in the chair in my home office on the morning of January 2nd and glared at my computer like a 6-year-old whose mom is picking her up early from a playdate with her best friend. I wasn’t ready to leave the relaxing vacation life just yet! I wanted a little more time to play!
Mind you, I love my job. I mean, I absolutely adore what I do for a living. I wake up excited to go to work and tear myself away late at night. But lately, I’ve realized (and been told) that I need to take a break. Let my mind shut down for awhile, they said. It’s rejuvenating, they advised.
Even my intern told me I need to stop sending her emails at 10:30 at night. (My intern! I thought college students were night owls!)
So on December 19th I put an automatic response on my email and took a deep breath. Then another one. And another one. I started to feel what it means to breathe again. It was nice.
Until Wednesday, January 2nd.
By Friday morning, I was already feeling that familiar sensation of having way too much to do with way too little time to do it. By my fourth cup of coffee (OK, maybe there’s more than one issue here) I was thinking there’s no way I’ll be ready for my event on Tuesday, even with the weekend to work! And then I realized:
I thrive on this feeling.
I may be addicted to overwhelm.
So here’s how I’m addressing my Overwhelm Addiction for 2019:
- I hired my intern (pictured above). Yes, the same one. I adore that Maggie tells me what she thinks, that she knows things that I don’t know, that she helps me see things from a different angle than how I currently see them. Plus, she’s really frickin’ smart and organized.
- I commit to completing one focus item per day. This is a concept from my Passion Planner that I’ve largely ignored for the past two years. I thought if I had one focus per day that meant I couldn’t work on the other 18 things I needed to do that day. This year, I’m shifting my mindset. I now view it as the one most important item to complete in a given day, in addition to the other 18 items – not in lieu of them. This way, at least I’ll complete one thing per day that drives me towards project completion. (I sometimes procrastinate.)
- I will not use electronics after 10:00 pm. No more late night emails from me!
- I commit to not working on most Saturdays. This is going to be really hard for me, because, well, I’m addicted to my overwhelm. I already know I have some Saturdays coming up when I will need to work. However, with Maggie by my side and focus as my guide, I know that as the year progresses I will be able to stop working on all Saturdays.
I’d love to hear how you keep yourself organized and set aside time to relax. Please share your thoughts in the comments section or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. My ultimate goal here is to move away from Overwhelm and avoid the pendulum swing to Underwhelm. I just want to be… well… Whelmed.