There are times when things get so hectic that I almost lose myself in the struggle to stay ahead of the game. I have been going through one of those times recently, and I have forgotten the most important rule when things seem to be out of control—FULL STOP.
Full Stop means simply what it says. I am stopping everything that is contributing to my sense of being overwhelmed. I need to re-prioritize things, and that is impossible when I am juggling cats and chainsaws at the same time. Job issues, exhaustion, worry about the ongoing pandemic, concerns about Hal and The Stooges, making sure that there is food on the table, basically everything that has been on my mind needs to be thrown onto the floor so I can examine each one and then decide which one to tackle first, then second, etc. This is the only way that I can get a grip on things after they reach the crisis point.
Job issues are important, but not at the expense of my personal sanity. It is so easy to just say that this priority must come first. Closer examination and experience has shown me that this is seldom the case. If I am not comfortable and secure at home, that makes any job issues even worse. Learning how to correctly put things in order is key to finding inner peace at times like this.
Getting more rest is the easy solution to the exhaustion problem. Now, if someone has a formula to add another 8 hours to each day that I can devote solely to rest and relaxation, I would be eternally grateful. Sadly, this also has to be built into the plan that will emerge from the full stop period. If I am not rested, nothing else will be easy. Therefore this priority moves to the top of my list.
The pandemic is something that worries all of us at times. Since there is only so much that I can do, I just take care of that and then deliberately move this to the bottom of the priority list for the time being. It is one of those things that is out of my control, so there is no use putting extra effort into worrying about it.
Hal and The Stooges will always be at or near the top of my list. I have to be rested to make sure that I can devote my best to them, therefore this moves to second place, behind rest, but ahead of the job and the pandemic.
Putting food on the table is directly related to the job. Therefore it must be placed behind the job priority.
At this point, I have the following list in order:
- Hal and The Stooges
- Putting food on the table
This gives me something to plan around that I can live with. In order to get more rest and have more quality time with Hal and The Stooges, I can arrange my own routine to put these two things first. The job and the putting food on the table issues are also directly related and come after that. The difference is that those two things will not be allowed into my personal time with the top two priorities. The pandemic is something that I will remain aware of, we will do what we can to protect ourselves, but that is the extent of the effort for now.
This is the FULL STOP exercise. It is the easy part. Putting this into practice will be the tough part. I have to stand my ground and defend my plan against outside influences. Not doing so is what got me into this mess in the first place.
I hope that this helps someone out there. Willingly offered for free. Do what you can first to protect your own personal sanity. Then deal with the job, and put the things you cannot control at the bottom of your list.