Tuesday, June 30, 2009

When You Hit the Breaking Point

This morning around 9:30 am it finally all caught up with me - the noon deadline I was writing for, the leadership manual that needed to be tweaked by 11am, the writers asking if the article submitted yesterday was alright, the marathon training, the 20 unreplied to personal e-mails. Bottom line: I was ready to explode.

I'm sure all of us, freelancers or not, hit a breaking point. At least if you're freelance you tend to hit that when no one is around, since that's the usual mode of working. But overcoming it is a whole different matter. After I calmed down and realized it was all doable and I'd meet all the deadlines, like I usually do, I got to thinking of the great detox methods. Here's what I've found as helpful:

  • Work through it. Don't stop to think about the stress and the amount of things pending just keep plugging along, working hard.
  • Make a schedule, timeline, to-do list, whatever. As long as it helps you calmly look at the things in front of you. (If lists stress you out avoid this idea like the plague.)
  • Step away. If you have the time to take a step back do so. Go out and do something you like, something that will help clear the brain and refocus your energies. This could be a run, bird watching, flipping through a 'brain-less' magazine, window shopping, taking the dog for a walk, playing with your kids, and talking to a friend.
  • Access your priorities. What really needs to be done? What can be put on hold till a later date? Am I doing too much? When is enough enough?
  • Utilize your skills but in a non-work format. Try writing a short story, poem, journal entry, blog post, whatever. Anything to take a mental break from the things in front of you while working on your craft.

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