Navigating the Whelms
Sitting here today, stuck on topics (after having spent the first few days of January planning most of them out) and I have typed, and deleted, and typed, and deleted. It looked something like this (my husband called it a reenactment of a Doogie Howser episode, I realized after the fact he is right):
Knowing when … delete
Standing up … delete
And here we are … 65 words in to the second post of 2019, and too many thoughts swirling through my head blocking out all the rest of what I intended to say this week.
With all of that said (and hopefully staying out of the way for the rest of this post) it’s a good point to consider – dealing with how to write a post, or article, or review when everything keeps insisting on taking you off track. Part of me wanted to just say no, this week is not happening, close up the laptop and call it a week. The other part of me, the part that digs in even when things seem bleak had other thoughts.
I’m in the process of planning out a new podcast series, researching a number of in depth article topics, setting up my reading list for book reviews for the year, and still working to plot out a story or two in my free time. While I am doing all of this on the side along with maintaining a full-time job, three kiddos, and being married it starts to feel a little overwhelming. When we get overwhelmed it’s easy to want to fold the cards, throw in the towel, just walk away and not look back – but that’s not who we want to be. I know that I have worked way too hard over the last year (this post marks post number 40) and we’re coming up on the one year anniversary of this blog. So instead, I want to consider how to minimize the overwhelmed, avoid the underwhelmed, and just be whelmed.
We don’t always get a say in how much ends up on our plate. We can’t control how much, or how little, someone else might impact the load. These are a majority of what leads to that overwhelmed feeling, and knowing this ahead of time makes a huge difference. Let yourself panic – just keep it down to earth. Shake your fists, let out a groan of stress filled aggravation. Then take a deep breath and start to make sense of what has to be done.
Sometimes we have visions of projects that are going to be multi-faceted, contain many layers and that might lead to more than we can handle. Consider what actually has to be done. The bare minimum that will lead to success. Don’t stop there … just consider it for a moment.
Now, consider how to take that bare minimum and make the best impact possible while avoiding the opposite end of the spectrum … underwhelmed. You know what is needed to make what you have promised (yourself, a client, a friend, etc. …). Now raise that bar a little higher and make a list of things that you can add in that will make the statement really pop.
If you’re working out your blog posts for the year, keep them realistic. Consider how much time it takes you to write the post – is it an hour for 500 words? Make sure you know you have an hour every week available. If it’s a 2000 word article that will require intense research – make sure you give yourself a realistic deadline if you know you will have other projects on your plate.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed if we don’t plan. That’s when all the extra-shiny thoughts start to get in the way, and then it’s hard to focus on the point at hand. Bash the keyboard for a few minutes, type random words and delete, walk away and breathe – whatever you need to do to bring yourself back to the present and plan out a way to bring things back to a realistic and achievable point.
If you’re willing, I’d love to hear about how you have done with the whelms – over, under, and just plain whelmed. Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org