I woke up today with a feeling of panic. My list of priorities to get done had once again grown completely out of control, and what made it worse was the fact that the vast majority of items had deadlines attached to them that if missed would have negative consequences. For example, year-end tax items needing to get done….is there any bigger joy killer than the phrase “year-end taxes”? I would argue that there is not! And sadly, year-end taxes were only one of the projects with a set deadline that I simply couldn’t miss. All of which added up to my state of panic this morning. In fact I am quite certain that I would tested positive for multiple DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic Criteria for Panic Attacks…complete with accelerated heart rate, trembling, light-headedness, and a fear of dying…okay, that might be a slight exaggeration 🙂 , but seriously, I was feeling stressed!
The problem with going into a panic is that it literally shuts you down from being productive. It causes you to become so focused on the fact you are feeling panic that you can’t focus on resolving the issues that caused you to panic in the first place.
Panic stems from your thoughts. And the best way I have found to overcome panic is self-talk – I literally have to become a parent to myself, saying “settle down, it is all going to be okay…let’s walk through exactly what needs to get done and start on the most critical thing first”. I know it probably sounds juvenile to have to talk to myself in order to calm down, but laugh all you want to – it works! It helps me to stop and step away from the panic and go into “matter of fact mode” which is the voice of reason reminding me that I can get through this if I just take it one step at a time…reminding me that it is all going to be okay if I just stop panicking and start focusing.
And so this morning that is what I did. I sat down in a silent room and forced myself to get completely focused. No distractions. And then I went to work….and work I did. I worked in the most hyper-focused manner that I have worked in a very long time. I started busting out one hard task after another…I didn’t stop to eat…heck I didn’t stop to run to the ladies room (which is why I have to hurry and type this blog before I explode). I refused to let myself think about everything I had to get done and instead I forced myself to focus on one task at a time, completing one and then immediately beginning the next. I worked the entire day until a few minutes ago when I realized it is now past midnight! WOW! I had no idea it had gotten so late.
Sitting here now I am shocked at how much I got done. I’m talking really super hard projects that were intense! And I got a ton of them finished. If I could reach around and pat myself on the back I just might do it! Instead I am going to jump out of this chair and scream “I AM AMAZING!” Because that is how I feel right now – I was amazingly productive today and that is something to be proud of.
Here is hoping you all have amazingly productive days tomorrow and a fabulous weekend of fun!