I’m really busy right now.
I”m generally not superbusy. It’s one of my core values to try to have spaciousness in my life as much as I can. I hate feeling like I’m being pulled in a thousand directions. So that’s generally not how my life is.
But right now I’m in the final weeks of a two-year long process to bring to life a new, original theater piece. (It’s called Jubilee, thanks for asking. You can find out more about it and buy tickets over here: newnoise.org) There’s a hundred moving parts and a ton of demand on my time in additon to all the stuff I normally do: writing, teaching, client work, etc.
For a couple of weeks I used my old coping strategies. I got pissed off that I had so much to do and the I avoided doing the work. I got stuck in this all-too-familiar cycle of resenting the work, procrastinating on the work, and then loathing myself for how I wasn’t getting anything done.
I feel annoyed that I have so much work to do so I avoid the work, but then I feel bad about myself for avoiding the work. And then I feel bad so it’s even harder to get anything done.
Resentment breeds procrastination. And procrastination breeds self-loathing.
So this week I had to have a come-to-Jesus moment about it. If I’m going to maintain any degree of mental health or sanity, I had to adjust my attitude.
Here are my four best tips for how to survive when you’ve got too much to do.
1. SAY NO TO ANYTHING EXTRANEOUS.
Clear everything you can off your plate. Let go of projects you thought you were going to be able to accomplish, self-imposed deadlines you thought you could meet, etc. For me that has meant pausing work on my new website (including letting my designer and photographer know that I needed to take a break from the work until after the show). It’s also meant extending the deadline for my Patriarchy and Relationships project that’s been percolating on the back burner (coming July 2018).
2. GET SERIOUS ABOUT SIMPLE SELF-CARE.
I’m not talking about bubble baths. I mean, Am I drinking enough water? Have I eaten enough food? Am I getting enough sleep? The super basic, simple stuff. Commit yourself to these small things. If you’re gonna make it through the busyness, you need to be as well-fed, well-hydrated, and well-rested as you can be.
3. ASK FOR HELP.
I’ve reached out to friends just to let them know I have a lot on my plate. Ask for specific support that will help you get through this busy time. For me that looks like asking for reminders that I’m doing a good job, and accountability around my simple self-care. It also looks like accepting tangible support, like when a friend asks if she can drop off dinner for me, I say yes! This helps two-fold for me: I get the support I need, and I’m relieved of the self-imposed guilt of feeling like I’m being a “bad friend” when I’m not available for social engagements right now.
4. REMEMBER THAT IT WON’T BE THIS WAY FOREVER.
This is the simplest one, but perhaps to hardest to do. This moment will pass and another one will follow. And it will be less busy than this one. (If it feels like it will never be less busy, hire me for some life coaching, lol. I can definitely help with that!) For now, just keep inhaling and exhaling.