Monday, October 11, 2010

Weathering Storms

In my life, storms are usually of my own creation.

I tend to put a lot onto my plate, and then leave everything so late that all hell breaks loose while the deadline looms ever closer.

Sad thing is that I don't know how else to function. As I explained yesterday, my performance is a lot lower is I have less or no pressure. I can't understand it.

But instead of trying to solve this (which would be useless to try as it would require a personality change) I rather find ways in which to ride out the storm. The most important ways to do this is as follows:

1)   I order things according to urgency and importance. So if something isn't important, and it stands in the way of me doing something that is, I'll wave to the deadline as it passes me by. If I look up from whatever it is that I'm doing at that stage. That's why I haven't been writing recently. And why I will not be setting goals for my writing in NaNoWriMo. My degree is now my primary - and I can almost say soul - concern. Anything that takes too much time, gets postponed until further notice. As sad as it makes me, blogging is included here as well. I might not have time to blog while my huge Economics test approaches. So I have to apologize once again for the fact that I won't be able to read as many of your blogs as I would like.

2)   I say no. This one is quite close to the above, but it's a little different. This has to to with killing a distraction before it is born. When riding out storms, you can't take your eyes off the deadline in question. So no side-lines. But knowing when to say no is difficult for two reasons. Sometimes what looks like extra work is actually a new opportunity. In those cases it's usually a good idea to say yes. Then there are very clever people that word a request as an obligation. So very very smart. But not if they do it to a person they know is capable of doing the same. I received a list from sports admin about a list of documents they need me to deliver on the day of my test, so... as annoyed as I was by this, I opened the attachment and got even more annoyed. Eighty percent of the list was for things that involve next year. So I sent back a very civil letter apologizing profusely for the fact that I have a life and that I have to pay attention to my studies... and that this nonsense is NO LONGER MY RESPONSIBILITY. And I will only hand in the things on my list that carries over from my tenure as Chairperson. Not a page more. And then I will hand it in late too, due to rule number one above.

Maybe this makes me a harsh, selfish, mean... etc. person. But if I can't prioritize, the storms will catch up with me. And that dear friends, is a much greater concern to me than what others might think when I refuse to dance to their tunes.

How do you deal with storms in your life?


  1. You are a brave soul. the things that I postpone are the things I hate to do. That said, they are no less obnoxious when I do them they they were before.
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

  2. I try to deal with the most pressing things first but it can be a mix of what I care about most to what needs to be done at the moment.

  3. I let the storms overwhelm me. I'm not one to say no, I'm not one to know when to stop and actually prioritize, I continue to multi-task until the world around me begins to crumble, and trust me it's a very awful feeling!

    Good luck with your studies! I look forward to following in during the NaNo event knowing that you might not have time but at least I can be there if you do!! As for late things, that's not in my nature... never has been and I hope it never starts!

  4. By prioritizing, definitely. But also by just riding it out. Setting everything else aside and doing what must be done - leaving time to rest until after whatever deadline it is I'm battling :)

  5. I wheather them out. If I can't change the situation, I don't worry about it. I know when the skies clear the rains will bring new life. Tomorrow will be better.

    Stephen Tremp

  6. Prioritizing is a good thing. :) It's hard to say no, I think, but I've also discovered that people can be a lot more understanding than we realize sometimes. :) Good luck with your degree!

  7. I'm a serious procrastinator. I probably need therapy for it. Storms abound in my world. BUT. When I do get down to business, I do it like this:

    I pretend the task at hand is the only thing I have to do. I get it done.

    Then the next one--the only one I have to do. I block out the fact that I just finished one before it, and that I'll probably have more to do after it, and I just go for it.

    I'm 99% sure I ripped this philosophy from a writing book called BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott. I think the story was something like her son waited until the day before his project about birds was due to get started. And it was one of those projects that takes you about a week or two. But her husband told him that instead of looking at it all--and thus, being overwhelmed--that he should just go bird by bird. Start with one. Move onto the next.

    It's much better in theory than in practice, but still--it keeps me calm when I'm going crazy.

    One at a time. Bird by bird.

  8. Nancy I think a necessary part of bravery is stupidity. Or at least a perspective problem. I have this thing where I can never quite see whether I'm just in front of a storm or in front of the mother of all hurricanes. :-) I know what you mean about the bad stuff. I do exactly the same thing, but forcing myself to do it as fast as possible makes it a bit more tolerable.

    It's the same with me. There are certain things that I never let go of, even if I'm incredibly busy. For example, I would miss classes if a friend of mine's car broke down and she needs company/help/a lift. It's just how I am.

    Jen, I've been to the part where my world crumbled. Why do you think I'm so strict about prioritizing? I hate handing things in late, but since I never volunteered for those things in the first place, I don't see a problem with it. They should have known better than to foist stuff on a final year bad-ass ex-fencer. (Fencers are a species of their own. Trust me on this.)

    Why thank you Blogger. You've just made me feel very special. :-)

    That's my way too Marieke. I just dig deep and knuckle down until it's over. I just try to stay one step ahead of it so that riding it out is a bit easier.

    Stephen, that is very true and very wise. Thanks for the follow. :-)

    I agree Danyelle. It can be hard to say no, but it gets easier with practice. Thanks for the good wishes. :-)

    Shayda, that's how I do it too, although I can do other things like preparation for the next project while working on the current one. The next one will go a lot quicker if I do that. Thanks for commenting and joining. :-)

    Thanks all for commenting and for your good wishes. :-)


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