REFLECTION: It’s been well over a year since my husband and I committed to planning a major vacation get away to celebrate his looming milestone birthday. Well, loom no more! It’s now two days to D for Departure Day and our longest vacation break ever.
Surprise! Surprise! There are a ton of things that need to happen to disengage from work and everyday life while preparing to travel for six weeks.
We’re excited, of course. And despite our best efforts to plan ahead, work ahead, and set things up in good time, there are an astounding number of tasks still on the list; and I’ve found myself growing anxious about the load.
One of the projects I’ve been working on (with the help of the research talented Nikki) is coding, categorizing and analyzing the results of the Overload & Overwhelm Survey that was carried out earlier in the summer. It’s not escaping my notice that top of the list of causes of O&O is a mismatch between expectations and resources – the classic tug of war between too many tasks and too little time/money/helping hands.
I find myself living that experience firsthand as the countdown to get away marches on. What I am noticing is that as the deadline approaches, my discernment grows sharper. Many tasks that several weeks or months ago absolutely had to be handled before we leave, have now been relegated to ‘maybe’, ‘would be nice’, or ‘never going to happen’.
Sure, it would be great to send the dining room table away to have the scratched up top refinished while we’re gone. It would have been wise to have laid in the firewood supply for the winter before we go. But at this point, both tasks are headed to the ‘that’s never going to happen’ category.
Yes, it would have been smart to launch the redesign work on the website before heading out, but at this point it’s clearly a ‘would have been nice’. And yes, I had hoped that I’d have a complete summary of O&O survey results to share with you before I go, but the fact of the matter is that outcome is no longer even a remote ‘maybe’. Although the analysis work is all but done, the writing and reporting will have to await my return.
I’m finding that as I let go of the fantasy that it’s even possible for many of these things to happen before we leave, the list shrinks and my spirit soars.
That supports what’s showing up top of the list in the survey results as the most effective way of dealing with O&O, which is to reset collective expectations.
ACTION: And so, I encourage you, as you hit patches of overload, to tune in to and name the situation. Then to continue to develop those skills of discernment in yourself and with others – sorting between the sure, maybe, would be nice, not now, and not a chance. What a relief it can be to lighten up!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The rarest things in the world, next to a spirit of discernment, are diamonds and pearls.” – Jean de la Bruyer
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s Pause message, Feedback…Feedforward, JY writes: “Currently I use a “Quit or Commit” assessment annually on my birthday to take a good long look and evaluate my past year (be it work involvement, courses I’m taking or memberships in associations); I look at everything that impacts on my life and decide if I want to continue the commitment or remove it. It makes decision-making much easier.”