Friday, July 29, 2011

Feeling Overwhelmed? There isn’t always a solution.

I was just literally rained out of green bean picking so I guess this is as good a time as any to stop and write for a moment. Tyler is playing his leapfrog for an hour, which keeps him quiet during Colton’s nap, and gives me some time to get some things accomplished unhindered.
I knew that when I stayed home my workload would change. I knew it would be busy, varied, and I knew it would be difficult at times. (Like any job.) I didn’t really anticipate the occasional arrival of the feeling of being overwhelmed with things to do. I suppose that isn’t something that we can ever truly escape, whether we work like dogs, divide the time between work and family, or dedicate our time solely to our families.  
I have to admit that now I find the feeling of being overwhelmed more difficult to deal with. When I was at work, it was easier to say, “I’m one person managing a big life, and some tight deadlines, I’m going to get overwhelmed and just have to breathe and trudge through it.” That is difficult to do now. Perhaps I shortchange what I do and what I am accomplishing, but I get frustrated because I feel like I used to manage it all with less time. I guess the difference now is that I am doing more as my own boss. As my own boss, I have myself to answer to and my expectations of myself have always been more unreasonable than anyone’s expectations of me.
How to manage this? For me, tackling projects, and multi-tasking with something I enjoy (one ear dedicated to an audio book, another listening to the boys) is the easiest way to get things done. Oddly enough, this is the same way I dealt with my workload while at work, I just gave myself more of a break! However, when it comes to free-time and getting things done throughout the day, it isn’t always a steady stream of work dedicated to crossing things off of my to-do list like it was at work. I had an office where I could shut the door to focus, and a list of things to get done by this time, and I didn’t always have the level of interruptions or “fire-fighting” I have now.  The list of things to get accomplished now is constantly overshadowed by the #1 Priority of someone else’s needs or need for attention. (I can’t be home and ignore my kids all day so I can cross things off our list!) There is very little opportunity to focus. (Sometimes that can be a procrastinator’s dream when it is a distraction from something you really don’t want to do in the first place!)
Being your own boss though, means being accountable for the things that happen, as well as being accountable for the things that don’t. Owning to that responsibility at times is tough, especially when you feel like you are falling behind.
I guess I tend to like to get the nasty things done first, so that I can quickly get to my “reward” of having some peace of mind. Overwhelmed, for me, comes when everything on the list is something I don’t want to do, and one accomplishment leads to another task I’d rather avoid. The simple for me to address this I suppose would be: Being a grown up sucks sometimes, but at least I’m doing something good and I’m finally where I should be. I always wanted to have myself to answer to, how does that feel today? Plllb.
I guess it beats being bored!

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