Monday, March 12, 2007

Working Past Overwhelm

I spent a large part of last week paralyzed. Hours spent starting at my monitor, looking at my "to do" list and thinking:

Ya know - I don't want to do any of this.

So I tried to focus on something mindless that needed to get done. Like adding training patients and schedules to our electronic medical record. It needs to be done. It was mindless. But I felt I should have been doing something else. Like testing. Nevermind that the rest of the team is testing and no one else is building the training environment or exercises.....

So I looked at my to do list again.

Ya know - I don't want to do any of this.

Maybe if I wrote something for my blog. That should get me out of my slump. Nothing doing. Instead of staring at the electronic medical record I've been working in, I'm now staring at Google Docs & Spreadsheets. I hear crickets.....

Ya know - I don't want to do any of this.

I attended the obligatory meetings and performed the obligatory trainings. I would go back and sit at my desk staring at the "to do" list, then my monitor. Grab some tea. Stare somemore. Attend a meeting. Stare somemore.

I grabbed a pen and paper thinking the change in media would help kickstart my motivation. So now I am staring at a blank sheet of paper.

OK. Maybe if I read some of the new documentation I received. Same ol'same ol'. Not inspired. If anything, even more confused.

So what finally got me out of this rut? Getting away from the office.

Saturday: I spent a quick hour testing yet another new build, then spent quality time with friends.

Sunday: I tried to get into the system to continue testing and found that the system had crashed with yet ANOTHER new build. FREEDOM! Suddenly - freed from the confines of the computer, I was able to prioritize what needed to happen - then walk away to do more important things - like reacquaint myself with my friends and family.

I've been more productive this morning than I've been in 2 weeks.

Stress shuts down decision-making. Looking at the amount of things I have to get done and the lack of time to do it in made me hit the paralyzation tipping point. When I finally relaxed, I was able to prioritize what needed to happen and when. Also to decide what could drop if it needed to.

The creative process requires some downtime. Things happen when they are darned good and ready. No amount of forcing the issue will change that.

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BTW: A fantastic interview over at Life Coaches Blog with Matt Cornell, a productivity expert:

I think of (productivity) as nested circles: On the outside are all the people who are overwhelmed in work and life (a lot). Inside that are the people who know it. Going deeper are those who are willing to change themselves to get relief.

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