4 Tips for Working When You're Going Through


My head hurts. My heart is beginning its mending process. My e-mail server is broken. My job is in transition. I've accepted a new, more demanding, position within my sorority. My head hurts. There aren't enough hours in the day. I have dirty dishes in the sink. My bed isn't made. I have last minute running around to do. I have to work through my lunch. My cable bill is wrong. This day is dragging. And, my head hurts.

But I still have work to do. Minutes are still passing and there are tasks that still need to be completed. Because my mind is overloaded, does not mean my work shouldn't be unloaded. It simply means I have to work twice as hard to focus. And in the midst of me trying to find my focus and get work done - despite my situation(s) - the following have proven to be quite helpful:

Clear your mind before beginning your tasks: my mind goes a mile a minute when there are tons of things going on. Before I begin any work, I have to clear my mind. Sometimes that comes in the form of prayer and other times it's writing out what I'm dealing with. Whatever your best method is, do that. Do not allow the emotions from your situation to translate into your work. Stop thinking, start working. Free yourself from the current burden of your mind, so you can still be productive.

Create and follow your to-do list for the day: "create and follow". Create a list of tasks that can realistically get done in this day. If you're working on a week long project, do not anticipate to complete it all in one day, instead, focus on smaller parts of the project that can be done; put those smaller parts on the to-do list. Plan your day effectively, so you're not discouraged by what you couldn't achieve. 

Make time for self, twice a day: give yourself time to prepare for the day in the beginning and unwind in the end. Use those moments for self-evaluation and debriefing. Do not prepare for tomorrow at the end of today. Use your morning time to plan out your day and use the end of the day to evaluate your planning. What didn't get done? What's still left? How am I feeling? It is okay to be frustrated, sad and confused, but be sure to address those feelings both in the morning and at night. Figure out what is making you feel that way. Get it out of the way so it's not lingering into the next day, or seeping into the next project.

Add your personal issues to your to-do list: as counterproductive as it may seem, planning out when you'll handle your personal situations will alleviate you from worrying about them all day. If you're anything like me, not seeing "grocery shop", "call about cable bill" or even "explain to boyfriend why what he's done was wrong" only gives you anxiety. If it's not on my to-do list, when the heck will I get it done? In order to properly function, you need to balance your work life, social life and everything else. It all belongs on your day's list. Do not overload your list, but do not ignore the things in your personal life that need to be addressed. Add them there as a reminder, or to simply assure yourself that it will be handled.

When I'm going through something, planning too many things heightens my anxiety. Planning my week becomes stressful when I'm not sure how I'm going to make it through the day. Making smaller goals and accomplishing them becomes more beneficial during these trying times. It lets me know that I'm still functioning and that I can still be productive. Try not to escape your problems in your work, but to integrate problem-solving in your work day. Make time for the very things you may be trying to run from. Tackle them a little bit at a time, one day at a time. It's okay to be overwhelmed, sometimes. The task is not letting that take you away from the part of life that is still happening. Work through it. 

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