I’ve always thought I was pretty focused on what I need to do, until I woke up in total panic last week and felt totally overwhelmed. I grabbed some time out, sat down with pen and paper and made a rough list of what I needed to do in the next 7 – 10 days and realised I’d completely lost the plot with making goal and to do lists.
Whilst goals are not to do lists, they are the essential thing that makes a to do list functional. So after a couple of peaceful hours at the Lounge on Thursday afternoon I managed to come up with something that helped me plan my diary…. and yes whilst I’m in confessions mode, I’ve not been doing that either, which is probably another reason for feeling overwhelmed. My relapse recovery is also at the yoyo stage where I have good days and bad, and that further complicates life as I have to reign myself in on good days and rest more on bad days, so feel I’m not achieving as much as I should! I’ve also noticed the urge to be distracted by “shiny new things” creeping in – any idea I can grab at that seems good, despite the fact that it might be contributing to the “overwhelm factor” and distracting me from my real goals!
I used to teach goal setting in a previous job, alongside action planning or sub goals and the main thing we used to emphasise was realism! I can almost chant the rules we encouraged our classes to take on board like a mantra:
1. Don’t set a goal that you need to work on 7 days a week – why? Because if you have a “lift gets in the way” moment and don’t complete it, them you say to yourself “I’ve failed”, hit the “To hell with it” button and give up trying
2. Be kind to yourself – if you think you can do something for an hour at a time, half it! Why? again its about not setting yourself up to fail – us human beans tend to over-estimate what we can achieve, and as a result set the bar too high. There’s nothing wrong with aiming for the moon, over shooting and hitting a star, but if we aim for the stars and hit the moon – a massive achievement none the less, we see ourselves as having failed.
3. Make sure its something you won’t see as a chore – if you resent your goal, you don’t put half as much effort in and try very hard to procrastinate and avoid.
4. Use problem solving techniques if you hit a barrier – these include asking for help ( am now hiding under desk in shame at my refusals to do so) and delegation……. least said etc!
So having realised I was disappearing up my own bottom in a state of confusion, was resenting and hating the very things I love about what I do, making and teaching and feeling lost in a stormy sea of paperwork and feeling life was generally chaotic, I set to and….
1. Wrote it all down on paper – things on paper seem smaller and more tangible, you can get hold of them and look for areas of overlap – or discover the art of killing 2 birds with one stone
2. Once I had a key list of targets, I then got a second sheet of paper and produced a task list and soon identified some ways I could combine my efforts.
3. Prioritised – worked out which things were a must do!
4. Grabbed the diary and wrote in jobs for each day
5. Got another pen and blocked out time off! That wasn’t comfortable but it meant I could see making as a leisure activity again and I’ve now got my “mojo” back
6. Went to a “Kick Start Monday” workshop at the Lounge – Theresa and Terry ran a great session for around 8 ladies. We all set our business goals for July and gave each other lots of ideas and support in refining them and making them tangible and measurable.
7. Have committed to asking a couple of friends to come round whilst my daughter is on holiday and help me get my workspaces organised – trying to find the things I need is a real source of stress at times, so having the ability to put my hands on things will help immensly and I know that I cannot do it all on my own as I’ll physically crash again!
So if you are feeling like me, then all I can say is that avoiding the overwhelm is just a recipie for it all feeling worse. Once its out of your head and on the page, you can see the stuff that’s driving you mad – and once you can see all the issues, you can grab them, give them a good shake up and sort out a prioritised to do list. And trust me the sense of joy that comes from ticking each item off is fantastic!!
I’ve also decided to work on small items until the list is complete – crafting small items is a fantastic way to feel you’re winning as you can produce lots in an evening, adding to that glowing sense of achievement! As you can see they are all based around bracelets and cuff. I’ve been toying with the idea of ways to cover thing silver bangles in crochet for a while – I want them to look woven – the silver weaving through the yarn and think I’ve achieved it. The pictures don’t do the final products justice as they all need finishing and joining, but I’m really pleased with them as I’ve managed to make them up in 2 evenings!: