The past few weeks have been quite stressful for me. I had some international travel with terrible wifi so I could not finish some planned work, a close relative died, a ton more client work, and more international travel. When my relative died, it was clear to me that I was not going to finish everything I thought I could. It was clear I could not meet my client commitments when I was in mourning.
I felt overwhelmed by all my work and commitments.
What was I going to let go? How would I adapt my work to fit my new circumstances?
I had some clients in that interesting beginning discussion stage. I may have lost one client, but the other is willing to wait for me.
I finished the workshops for everyone because they were all close to being done.
I am so far behind on blogging and newsletters I might never “catch up.” I put those words in quotes because I don’t believe you ever catch up. You make decisions about what to do next. At least, I do.
When you are overwhelmed, what do you do? Do you try to do “everything” even though it’s impossible to do so? Or, do you make choices about what you will not do or postpone? Or, do you imagine a new way of working?
I realized that for my Pragmatic Manager newsletter, I have some alternatives, other than new content.
I realized that for the Create an Adaptable Life newsletter, I can postpone the newsletter for another week or so. (If you subscribe, you received the newsletter early this week.)
I postponed finishing my program management book.
I made choices about what work to do now, what work to postpone, what work to not do, and what work I could adapt.
It’s unfortunate, and it’s necessary. There is no way I could work when I was sleep deprived, in the middle of grieving, or worried about how to manage my life.
You might be thinking, “Oh, this is a work-life balance issue.” There is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only life. I have to take care of myself so I can be effective in all my roles: consultant, wife, mom, and being my own person.
That meant I let some things slide. I might pick them up again later—I hope to—and if I don’t, I can reinvent how I do them.
How about you? If you are like most of the people I know, you have too much to do. You might not have my specific stressors, but you are overloaded. What will you keep? What will you postpone? What will you let go?
You don’t need to make yourself nuts with all your work. If you take care of yourself, you can then take care of the work.
How will you adapt to your new circumstances?
That is the question of the week: What do you do when you are overwhelmed?