Thursday, March 20, 2014

Less Panic. More Work.

It happens every year.

A day. Or two. Or a whole week. Where I realise I've taken on too much work and I'm never going to get it done before the dead line and how can I be that stupid because this was the year that I was going to be in control.

I'd decided on some strict rules for this year to stop all the usual craziness from happening. I wasn't going to take any individual orders. And I haven't. I even told my sister that I couldn't make a costume for her daughter. I know - that possibly makes me the worst sister of all time. And I decided that I wouldn't take any orders from interstate (yep, I broke that rule). But despite patchy implementations of these new rules I find myself in exactly the same position as I do every year - too much to do and too little time.

So Tuesday I did what I always do when I feel overwhelmed at work. I wrote a list. So I could see that it was actually more manageable than it seemed to be in my mind.

The list only had four things on it and writing it didn't help for a change - especially when I decided to check on the calendar and see just how many working weeks I had to do it in. Full panic mode!

So I made a plan of attack. To work every hour that I possibly can in the next few weeks. My plans are rarely complex. That's probably why I suck at chess.

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?!

Surprisingly, though it's been a little bit fun. I've been setting myself targets for the day and if I reach them I reward myself. With a piece of home-made toblerone rocky road. And if I don't reach them I console myself. With a piece of home-made toblerone rocky road.

And I've managed to palm off some of the meal-making. Luke and Becky did an amazing job of the burritos last night and I got to know what it feels like to just rock up at the table to have the meal waiting there. I could get used to that.

And I play games with myself. Because that's the only way you can appliqué 60 of the same leotards without going a little bit crazy.

The game I play is beat the clock. All you need is a stopwatch (or a phone with a stopwatch function), a full bobbin of thread and no interruptions.

This is not my fastest 1k time. This is my current record for appliquéing all the white bits on this current leotard. Thirty seconds faster than the first time I timed it. And I was as excited about this PB as I am about any PB. 

But timing is also a double-edged sword because it gives me something tangible to base my panic on. Multiply that number by 60. Add in the appliqué time for the purple pieces multiplied by 60. Then there's cutting time, pinning time and the occasional food/drink/toilet break and the final answer is ... cutting it too fine for my liking.

And somewhere in the middle of this work-fest I've got to squeeze in a quick trip down south to go for a little run. 

But the thing is - I always get them done. So my motto for the next few weeks is going to be Less Panic. More Work.


  1. Sounds like you need to hire an assistant or 6. Boy would I ever love someone to make dinner for me. Just once.

  2. As a ballet dancer in a previous, pre-running life I fully and very much appreciate all of the dedicated tailors who put all the sparkly bits on my costumes! My school would have a major recital every two years, and there must have been a hundred kids or more, and one year I was in four items... the costume job boggles the mind. So, thank you.

  3. Bounce back! Go out and work through the panic!

  4. Speed appliquéing! Love it. I've had one of those weeks, too. Why are we as women always taking on more than we need? I'm hoping your load lightens soon.

  5. I love the fact that you time yourself and try to get a new PB - what a fun way to get the task done!!
    And, my favorite part of this is that your reward and consolation are the same thing - NICE!!!!
    You will get it done because you are a strong mom and runner!!! Nothing can beat you!!

  6. Oh I love repetitive tasks! I have stamped over 1,800 individual raffle tickets this week, while watching The Real Housewives of the world. Although, nobody made my dinner. So you win. ;-)

  7. I like how you reward, and console, yourself!! :)

    Deep'll all work out cuz that's just what you do!

  8. I'm struggling to post on my blog or read other blogs at the moment because I'm just working too much... perhaps I could time myself to blog?

  9. Good luck. 60? That sounds like a lot but I have faith in you. Does that mean less WWF or is that break stuff?

  10. I'm part of a private FB group and reached out last week cos I was feeling overwhelmed. Basically I was saying that list-making is really helpful when I feel stressed cos (like you said) when I see stuff in black and white it seems achievable and I feel more in control. HOWEVER... the 'To Do' list then becomes as stressful as the stuff on it as I don't get things done and I become apathetic and overwhelmed again. I know that just starting something will mean I get it done on time, but it can all feel a bit much at times!
    PS. Thank god I copied that comment before I closed your page as it disappeared and didn't get posted!!!

  11. I don't do To Do lists, I do TA DA lists when I am overwhelmed. That way I can write down everything I have done and when I look at the list I feel excited and love writing more!

    Try it. And thank me in chocolate.

  12. I love the great distinction between your rewards and how you comfort yourself - I can totally relate!

    Good luck with the work - with those kind of rewards, I know you'll make it.

  13. I love it that you reward yourself and that you are playing games with yourself. I'm sure you do get it all done, like you say yourself too.

    I always use to do lists, at work and at home. One reason is to stay in control in busy times but the other is that I don't remember things that aren't important like when it's time to clean the dishwasher with cleaning powder. It pops up on my home todo list on my phone when it's time and I do it. This way I can use my limited :) brain for fun things to remember.

  14. My parents taught my sister and I the 'beat the clock' game as kids. Somehow, changing the sheets wasn't such an annoying task when I was trying to do it in LESS THAN 6 MINUTES! I still do it today with household chores and even work projects that I tend to agonize over.

    I suppose, on the bright side, although that is your current PB - it doesn't have to be your PB for the whole job. Just imagine how much FASTER you could get!! :)

    Good luck.


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