The end or the beginning?

How is September nearly over? How is this round nearly over? How do I only have a month and a half to work out what I’m doing for NaNo (if I’m doing it!) How do I only have a month and a half left of this semester to write a grand total of 12,000 words? How do I only a few months to finish my application/decide if I want to spend six months in Edinburgh next year? Gah!

As you may have noticed over the course of this round, despite owning a month planner, a calendar, and numerous electronic devices that tell the time/date, I am almost constantly baffled by how quickly time flies. I don’t know what it is, I’ll write all my tasks out on my planner and calendar, I’ll make To Do lists, but somehow a new week always manages to sneak up on me, with new tasks to replace the old ones I usually have yet to complete.

It’s not that I lack time management skills, it’s that I seem to lack an understanding of how fast a week can go!

I thought ROW80 might help me improve this.

Suffice to say it did not.

What it did help me do however was establish what I want to be doing, what I need to be doing, and what I don’t need to be doing to get what I want to be doing/need to be doing done.

Did that make sense?

Basically, I’ve discovered my priorities, and how absolutely shocking I’ve been at them.

I am a self confessed perfectionist, people pleaser, and stress head. I hate disappointing people, I hate saying no, I hate being late or handing in things late, and I hate things not being perfect when I hand them in.

These aren’t fantastic qualities to have together all at once, largely because it is almost impossible to say yes to everything, complete everything perfectly, hand it all in on time and NOT stress about it all.

I don’t even know if  I’ve talked about it here before, but I get very bad Anxiety (as in, the diagnosis Anxiety) and depression. Not all the time, but boy can it be annoying. Anxiety and depression combined with being a perfectionist people-pleasing stress head is basically a recipe for disaster.

It goes something like this: commit to all these different projects all at once -> have bad patch where all motivation leaves and I struggle to do anything that isn’t lie in bed and read/watch YouTube/cry -> remember how many projects I have to do and realise that in my current state of motivation there is no way I’ll complete them all on time perfectly -> stress until anxiety takes over and bad patch becomes disastrous patch where I just sit on the floor of the study crying whilst boyf sits there confused.

Super fun times, right?

But here’s the ridiculous thing: I’ve always know I’m like this. I’ve always known that if I take too much stuff on I will get overwhelmed, I will slip into a bad patch, I will be incapable of doing things, I will get even more stressed, and it will get worse. Yet I still do it. I still commit to things I shouldn’t, I still make myself overwhelmed, and I still end up in a ball in bed watching YouTube whilst eating ridiculous amounts of something delicious.

Great story Rachel, I hear you thinking, but how does this relate to ROW80 exactly?

Good question from the audience! If you’ll just sit tight a few more moments, I will explain. I just decided this all needed some proper context (unlike my WIPpets).

The thing is, I’ve finally realised I need to properly prioritise and scale down the tasks I take on to give myself room to be who I am (a perfectionists, people-pleasing stress head). I know I can’t please all the people, and trust me, I don’t want to do that. I just hate letting the people I care about/are important/expect things of me down.

So, on Wednesday I will be reviewing my goals from the very beginning of the round and assessing how well I did (note: there may be manic laughter and ice cream), but for today I will be focusing on this week, on setting the goals I need so that this week I can achieve what I need to and want to (and hopefully minimise the whole stress crying thing).

  1. Research, plan and write my history short essay before I return to Victoria: I haven’t booked flights yet (oh so organised, I know), but I think I’ll be heading back on Wednesday. I have a conference all tomorrow. Which sort of leaves today (Monday). *cue panic*. But that’s ok, because I won’t do anything else today. I probably won’t even go to my Russian class if I don’t feel like I’ve made enough progress on my essay. But, because I am quite a fast writer, I should hopefully have a draft ready for editing by the Brownlow tonight (it’s an Australian footy thing…)
  2. Have a WIPpet read to go for Wednesday’s blog post: I can’t promise this will be a particularly long one, but I can promise it will be there.
  3. Work on my politics research project: This one should be quite easy because it’s mostly research based and I can do that whilst I’m on the plane/in Victoria/whatever. The bulk of this will be done next week, so for this week I’m aiming to read through some information on international case studies and make a dot point draft of my introduction.

And that’s it. I’m hoping next week of my holidays will be less busy and therefore there’ll be more time for work on writing and assignments and the like, but for now I’m doing to take it easy and do what I need to do.

How did you go this round? Are you happy with your progress or like me did you struggle a bit? What have you learned from this round? Are you excited for the next one?

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2 thoughts on “The end or the beginning?

  1. Oh, I know what you mean about those sneaky weeks and the people pleasing! And the need for perfection. I have many projects because, if I had only one at a time, I would sink into it and maybe never come up for air again!

    I’ve decided that, unless necessary (homeschool reporting required by law; appointments; events or posts with a timeframe) getting something done by a certain point in time is arbitrary.

    I almost always need more time, and complete less, in a day than I thought, at the beginning. I’ve learned to accept that, so I just move one day’s unfinished business forward to the next, and look at my progress rather than what’s still undone.

    My forward progress has been slow, this round, but significant. I feel a sea change coming on, a deepening and shifting inside me – when it breaks, some things are going to come together in exciting new ways. Till then, I’m happy with what I’m doing, and how it’s shaping up…and I get to play with Trip and T’Pol, so there’s that. =D

    Knowing your priorities and leaving room to be who you are are very good things to have accomplished! They may not fit into your original goals, but they’ll certainly make setting new ones a more effective process!

    I love the energy that comes with reassessing a round just ending, and the renewal of new goals and a new round. Glad you’re coming back. I hope your holiday is restful, joyful, and productive, too!

  2. First, I think Shan gave some great advice above. Second, I so related to this statement: Anxiety and depression combined with being a perfectionist people-pleasing stress head is basically a recipe for disaster. It’s so who I am. I also think we are hard on ourselves with our goals and expectations. Sometimes I so focus on what I didn’t get done that I forget to be happy about what I did get done.

    I hope to see you around for the final round of the year. I am doing NaNo, so my biggest goal in Round 4 will be to get all my other to-dos in order so that I can focus on writing in November. I’ve done it the last two years and published both of my NaNo pieces. So, I hope you’ll seriously consider it.

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