Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Dealing with Overwhelm

I wouldn't wish my current predicament on anyone. I feel like I should belong to a 12 step group. Step one. Admit you have a problem.

Hello. My name is Lora and I'm a procrastinator.


I've been meaning to write reviews on both Gordon's and Patrik's wonderful new books. And I will, I will! I meant to get started long ago on the PowerPoint of my seminar for the upcoming PMC Guild Conference. I knew I should start purging at the beginning of the year in preparation for my move later this summer. I have invoices to send. And submissions to mail. And emails to respond to. And class samples to make. And art to conceive and bring to life. But I haven't. And now I'm feeling overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that I've done pretty much nothing for the past week. I'm stuck in the mass of "shoulds" that are clogging  my brain.

I really DO have to start purging and packing. And I really DO have to get started (and finished) with my seminar presentation. And I DO have to mail and respond and post and clean and... and... Sigh. What I DON'T have to do is spend time on Pinterest, or FB, or surfing through Zappos, or downloading apps onto my new iPad. I need to TCB as Elvis used to say. Take Care of Business. Pare down the time wasters and rev up the task accomplishing.

In the past I've used a few different methods to keep track of and get started on my to-do's.  But the best method of all (for me) is pencil and paper list making. Usually I just write a big long list and do whatever I want first, second, third, and so on. What ever is left over goes on tomorrow's list. I love the crossing out portion of a paper list. That little slash of the hand makes the accomplishment feel so much more concrete. I just don't feel the same rush when I use a check mark or line through feature in a computer word program.

This morning I read a post with a new twist on the ever popular paper to-do list. It featured a way to prioritize the tasks! Imagine. Prioritizing. What will they think of next? You divide the list into four columns or quadrants. Important/urgent, important/not urgent, not important/urgent (how does that work exactly?), not important/not urgent.

This morning I decided that writing a blog post was both important and urgent. I keep putting it off in favor of other tasks, but it's part of my business plan to keep a blog. Besides, I like blogging to all of you folk who are so faithful to my infrequent writing, and I feel terrible that I've been ignoring you.

I've heard about another great way to get things accomplished. Say it outloud. To real people. People who will hold you accountable. Will you all be my accountability partners? This is my list for the rest of the day (it's 9:11 am at the time of this writing).

1. Blog post
2. Gather everything that must be mailed and do whatever is necessary to put it in the envelope (label the CD, write the check, etc.).  11:09 am
3. Take the mail to the post office. 1:08 pm
4. Purge everything under the kitchen and bathroom sinks in preparation of the move (I'm going to do at least one thing a day until it's time to get the boxes out). Kitchen Done - 3:54 pm
5. Make a list of things to bring to Richmond for next weekend's class and gather them after class tonight. List made 5:31 pm

That's enough. I have a lunch date and am teaching tonight. I know what to do and what order to do it in. Thanks for listening. I feel better already.


Zoe Nelson said...

Great job, Lora! Way to get things under control. I hope you're efficient enough to go to the post office while you're out for lunch.

Lora Hart said...

Zoe, I think you know me too well. At least everything is in envelopes and stamped. LIsts are also being made. purging must be left till the afternoon.

stacey maddock said...

i am exactly like you lora, lists, lists, lists! only i don't just cross out, i highlight! currently i'm working in green. nothing says done like a page full of neon green lines :) good luck with the rest of the list!