Making Order of Chaos
Ironically, when I finished writing this post the unthinkable happened. In the throes of writing, I did not notice I had lost my Internet connection. When I hit save, I lost my blog copy. Hours of work gone with a quick click of a button. Needless to say, my day was filled with the unexpected. Nothing particularly bad mind you, just a lot of multitasking, interruptions and glitches accompanied by nagging deadlines. Chaos and unexpected snafu’s inspired a feeling that things were spinning out of control. Ultimately, the spinning resulted in a diminished ability to accomplish the goals I had established for the day. As the blank computer screen was looking back at me, I had a moment when I thought I would come unhinged . It was time to step back and regroup. It was then that I began to wonder why chaos sometimes becomes the order of the day in the first place and why I tend to handle chaos better at some times than others.
Not being flexible
The only thing I know for sure when I embark upon my day is that the best laid plans change! I’ve learned, over time, to look forward to the surprises that show up each day . Often they are pleasant surprises that come virtually out of nowhere . Planning works best for me when I create a flexible outline of goals I want to accomplish and arrange them around scheduled appointments. When my plans are etched in stone or I become attached to the day unfolding exactly as I planned..well… those are the days I fall apart. When I struggle to put the day right back on track I never seem to get there. I end up frustrated in the process. When taking a more flexible approach I tend to move through the flow of the day with ease and find that I accomplish more along the way.
Creating Chaos as a Distraction
Chaos can be a way of distracting me from issues that I just don’t want to deal with. It turns the focus away from anything I am avoiding or don’t want to confront. I have observed that creating a system of chaos can become a way of life for some people. It can be an especially attractive alternative when dancing around big issues they don’t want to notice in their lives. If I begin to experience a constant stream of chaos, I ask myself, “What am I avoiding?” Gaining awareness around something I may be avoiding makes it easier to make changes that will have a positive impact on my life.
Lack of Focus
Lack of focus can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Having no plan at all and flying by the seat of my pants is my favorite recipe for chaos. Gifted or cursed in the area of idea generation, it is sometimes difficult for me to work on one thing at a time. At times, I feel my day is spinning out of control. Occasionally, I feel as though I’ve accomplished virtually nothing and still find myself wiped out at the end of the day. Flitting from one thing to another is counter productive. I am not a natural organizer. Putting some sort of structure to my day using external organization methods are beneficial. I create some sort of list or outline to prevent the day from getting out of control.
I can’t help but say yes
Chaos from overextending myself always results in my feeling overwhelmed. I feel like I’m trapped in a box with little breathing room. I get myself in trouble here as I seem to unrealistically believe that there are 48 hours in a day. This is usually when I remember to set some boundaries around what I am able or willing to take on. When I continually sign up for too many projects I spend some time evaluating “why”?. Am I unrealistically assessing the resources I have available for projects ? This is often the case. Am I having difficulty saying no? Am I seeking the approval of others? Assessing the opportunity, my motivation and resources available help me decide if I have the time and energy to take on the responsibilities I am considering.
Whatever the reason for the chaos that takes over the day, there are a few things I do to minimize it’s impact on my day.
1. Stop. That’s right stop what I’m doing right now and take a few deep breaths. It stops or at least slows down the run away train.
2. Re prioritize. I decide what absolutely has to get done right now. I put off the things are less urgent.
3. I ask for help.
4. I get a good nights sleep. It’s difficult to focus when I am exhausted. Tomorrow is a fresh start.
Despite the unexpected my day did fall in place after all. I started my day taking care of the things a really didn’t want tackle. I regrouped, restrategized, said no to a project and then asked for some help, I accomplished many of the things I set out to do today despite a few snafu’s. Next time you find your day spinning out of control try some of the strategy’s outlined here and see if you accomplish more with less stress.
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