The last couple of weeks at work have been insanely busy, and sometimes stressful, hence the neglected blog. The sad thing is that I am entirely to blame for my work life going from a manageable 40 hours a week to a hectic 45+. And I really miss those five extra hours or more of my free time.
What happened? Well, I accepted a temporary position doing the job a level above mine....in addition to keeping my own full-time job. How is this possible, you might be wondering, for the blogger who wrote this post about being satisfied not climbing the career ladder and in fact wants to work less? It's a question I've been asking myself ever since.
I guess I was flattered that out of several people, I was asked first to take over a fairly critical function for the next several months. It would also give me a chance to see what having this position would really be like, as well as what working in our parent organization would feel like. And the work is more interesting than what I'm dealing with in my regular job right now, but like I mentioned I have to do that too. But the whole situation is also one big unorganized mess.
I considered this carefully before saying yes, talked to a lot of people I trust, then eventually decided to take the plunge. And ever since I've been scrambling to keep my head above water and trying not to panic.
At first I was fine working the nine and ten hour action packed days. I think I was feeding off of adrenaline. But that has worn off and I'm already getting tired after just a few weeks, so how will I stand it for a few more months? I started feeling pretty sorry for myself around mid-week, but last night I decided that I got myself into this mess and now I have to deal with it. I can't wish my way out of this one. And you know what? That mind set plus a few other tricks seem to be working.
Here's how I plan to survive the chaos:
- Take Breaks - Wednesday night I came home weary and frazzled. While the boyfriend made dinner, I stayed outside to plant and weed in the garden. I was probably only gardening for around 30 minutes, but it completely refreshed me. So whether you recharge by spending time outside, reading, watching your favorite movie, taking a long bath, etc., make time to do that. You need it!
- Less venting, more action - I'm a venter. Wait, I'm not sure if that's a real word, and Blogger doesn't seem to think so, but you get the idea. After I get my feelings out I usually feel better, but in this situation I kept venting to everyone I saw which was cutting into my work time. Today I resolved to buckle down and get busy, absolutely no venting allowed. I was able to get things done and cross them off my to-do list, which made me feel better than venting ever could.
- Write it down - There is something about writing my feelings down in my journal that makes me feel instantly better. Just thinking the thoughts does not have the same effect. Plus journaling instead of venting to someone spares some poor soul another of my tirades.
- Let some things go. I'm sure we all have work tasks that are nice-to-do but not absolutely critical. When time is short and stress is high, you may have to let some of the less-critical stuff go. This is hard for the perfectionist in me.
- Wait, then assess - I have a tendency to freak out first, then reason later. So it's better for me to wait before talking to anyone who can really help with these issues. I'm giving myself two weeks to get the lay of the land before I assess whether another plan is needed to get the job done while retaining my sanity.
- If all else fails, cry uncle - I used to think my previous bosses would see when there was a major work problem that was affecting me, but now I know better. I know no one in charge is going to automatically see that I'm overworked, if I can't handle the workload, I'll have to speak up. Because the one thing I'm not willing to do is to spend my entire summer working all the time.
Do you have any tips to add? How do you handle being overwhelmed at work?