REFLECTION: Have you run any mini-marathons lately? Not the athletic type – just the plain old challenging lifestyle version.
I’ve just come through an especially active couple of weeks, myself. During the first ten days of March, I was on my feet speaking at conferences and facilitating seminars for seven of those days. Two days each included an opening keynote and three follow up sessions – for a total of 13 individual presentations during that span of time. I usually limit myself to no more than two or three days of presenting each week, so this was extraordinarily compressed.
No one forced me to book this work in this way. As someone who is self employed, I’m directly responsible for what makes its way on to my calendar. This time around I agreed to this number of sessions because: the travel and timing pieces fit well together, the work itself was very appealing, I knew I could carve out prep time in advance and set aside recovery time at the end of the run, and because I’m aware that an upcoming planned get-away will limit available spring programming days.
Yes, there were surprises – crazy weather and dental emergencies amongst them. And, there were family activities – a weekend house guest and a grandson’s birthday party amongst those. And yes, by the 11th of March I was more than ready to put my feet up and veg for a while.
You probably know what I mean. I’m pretty sure, I’m not alone in mini-marathon experiences like these. Each of you likely runs your own race on a fairly regular basis.
ACTION: Here are three coping strategies I use to navigate hectic times. You might find them helpful yourself.
* Work ahead. Do-aheads are life savers. It was only possible for me to keep that presentation pace knowing that I had already prepped the presentations and materials and that travel arrangements were at the ready. That way I could pick up and move smoothly from one commitment to the next. What might you ‘do-ahead’ to pave the way through your busy time?
* Tap into purpose. Purposeful work fuels personal energy. If I can walk away from an engagement feeling like what I offered was useful, it puts a lift in my step and a lightness in my heart. What are you noticing that reminds you what you’re doing adds value?
* Book a reward. Keep a race-concluding break, treat or rest in your sights. The promise of a soon-to-be-experienced time-out could just be the incentive that helps you find your second wind. How might you light that lamp at the end of the tunnel?
I’d be interested in hearing what helps YOU make it through those high demand situations in your life. Drop me a line and share your strategies.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Sometimes I think my life would make a great TV movie. It even has the part where they say, “Stand by. We are experiencing temporary difficulties.” – Robert Brault
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: If you are in search of a helpful reference on ideas for navigating busy times and heavy loads, you might like to dip into Laura Stack’s book: Super Competent – The Six Keys To Perform At Your Productive Best. Published by John Wiley & Sons. 2010.
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s message, Stopping Starting, Pause reader NM writes: This is bringing to mind a question from one of my teachers. She asked me if I wanted to go broad or go deep. I’ve been working broadly most of my life and realized that I wanted to go deep and that I finally knew in what context I wanted to do that. While on one hand it narrowed my world a lot, I’m actually feeling so much more free! It is so easy now to stop starting things that don’t take me deep. In fact, decision making in general is easier.