I need to relax more. I don’t mean to say that I’m rushing around like a crazy person (I’m not), but I’m starting to feel stressed again. Deep breathing isn’t always working for me (I don’t feel like I can breathe deeply enough, which is bad enough on its own, but then adds to the stress), and my brain is racing. It’s not about the move (although I’m sure the fact that it’s creeping closer and we have a lot to do isn’t helping, but really – that feels under control), and it’s not just about work. It’s probably a lot about work, but there’s no quick fix for that (not any that don’t involve their own kinds of stress). Regardless, I just want to handle it better.
This afternoon, John went off to fly, and I turned on the Yoga Radio station on Pandora. My plan was to listen to it for a while during the end of my work day and then DO some yoga. I managed half of that…I didn’t make it to the actual yoga part. But it’s a start!
I think I’m going to drink less coffee, too. Once I’m out of the creamer I have. (No reason to let that go bad.) I drank the last glass of a bottle of wine last night, and I’m thinking about not opening the next bottle for a while. Part of the reason (for both coffee and wine) is the stress thing. The rest of it is just that they’re empty calories. I don’t need them.
And maybe this whole stress thing is coming on right now because I haven’t been exercising regularly this week. I didn’t feel like this last week, and last week I ran five days in a row. Then we had a massive snow storm, and I only ran once (Tuesday), and it wasn’t much of a run since I had to keep doubling back when the sidewalks ended in unshoveled snow and I kept stopping to pick my way across slush and ice. I haven’t been to the gym, and I certainly haven’t done any exercising at home (because lazy). Instead, I’ve eaten cookies and blueberry muffins and nachos. Tonight’s dinner is chili, so I’m not really helping myself out there. Make better choices! I will. Soon.
Our permanent someday home might need a heavy punching bag installed in the basement. I could sure use one to beat up on right now. I’ve been dealing with Mr. Smug Patronizer Who Thinks He’s More Important Than Everyone Else all day, and I need to let off some steam. Counting to ten and taking deep breaths isn’t working. I can’t go for a run (not a very satisfying one, anyway) because the sidewalks are treacherous, and the gym is just too far away. I guess I’ll have to get over this by eating cookies. Mmm. Cookies.
Surprise! Going to the office stresses me out. It did today, at least. I got in early (ten to 7), assumed I wouldn’t do much of the work I’d hoped to do (because that’s what happens when I’m in the office), tried to leave at 3pm, found myself swamped with things I’d be leaving half-done, and put my laptop to sleep at 3:45 hoping that all of the things I had open would still be there when I got home.
Luckily, they are all still there, but so are emails from people I can’t ignore. So here it is, over 11 hours after I got to the actual office this morning, back on my work laptop feeling all anxious that I didn’t do some things. I’m working on letting it go. I replied to the people I can’t ignore. Everything else that’s clamoring for my attention can be done first thing tomorrow.
I know this. It’s not that important. I’M not that important. Nothing that needs to be done is a matter of life or death.
I’m repeating this.
I want to be able to relax tonight.
Work is getting to me (and yes, I’m working on the solution to that). Actual question I got from someone today:
Do you have the issue [specific customer] wanted fixed by next week?
Do I have it? I don’t know what that means. Do I have a ticket for it? Maybe. What’s the issue? That customer has a lot of open tickets. Which one are you referring to? Or maybe you mean, do I have it for action by me personally? Maybe, but I can’t answer that until I know which one you’re referring to. I don’t know of any issues that have to be fixed by next week. (And that’s not how we operate, and you know that.) They had two issues last week that had my attention. One got resolved (it was a problem they caused and could resolve), and the other has a workaround and isn’t that urgent. Was it one of those?
Protect me from vague questions.
You know how when one thing in your life is acting up (it’s usually work), you can’t think about anything else? It’s this constant irritation (and it’s usually work), and much as you’d like to think about other things, more pleasant things, this ONE THING (usually work) takes up all available brain space.
Oh, you’re telling me a funny story? I’m sorry – I was distracted by thoughts of the big annoying thing that isn’t going the way it should (work, most likely). We’re going to watch TV? Let’s choose something I don’t have to pay much attention to because my mind will be going in circles about how to solve a problem like Maria (except no singing, no dancing, no love story because it’s almost certainly work).
Actually, The Sound of Music might help. “How you solve a problem like Maria” might not solve my problem (with, let’s face it, work), but it might be the most effective distraction. If only it weren’t raining and I had a handy hilltop or convent to spin around in…
I’m in all-out fight mode today, but I’m pretty sure no one has noticed (at work – John knows). This is a good thing; the person in charge of customer service should never start fights, fight back, or even appear to be anything other than angelic. Not exactly, of course, but I never lose my cool in front of my customers. Never.
Repeat after me:
I am at peace. I am as one with the world! I want to help everyone, even if one person just threw me under the bus. Oops, I mean this person clearly needs my help and just didn’t know how to ask for it. Let’s help him out!
Deep breaths. Smile? Yes, smile. My friendly voice is back, and…into the fray I go!
(This is a good reason to continue the boxing workouts.)
Who knew that fake gambling could be fun? I don’t like real gambling. It’s too stressful. You know you’re going to lose money, and even if you’ve set aside money you’re okay with losing, who wants to lose it? Not fun. But gambling with fake money is much more fun. No stress, no stakes. If you’re winning, hooray, and if you’re not, who cares?
This was for last night’s mandatory fun event for work, and I’m happy to say I actually had fun. The dealers were super nice, answered all of my questions and taught me how to play various games (it won’t stick, but it was nice of them), I think they enjoyed themselves, too. A couple of them told me it’s a relief to work an event with fake money because no one takes it seriously, no one’s losing real money, everyone has fun, and that means they can relax and have fun, too. Yay for everyone having fun!
Now, I’m at work, and I have a headache, so I’m going to take something and try not to be super-annoyed with this one super-annoying client.
We managed to do every single thing on our list for the weekend except one. I still need a pedicure. But I can probably get that done after work some night. Clearly not tonight – I had to work late, and now that I’m home, I’m still waiting for someone to get back to me so I can do some more work. Boo. But everything else, we did this weekend, including a trip to my favorite store. I am the proud new owner of two new pairs of running capris and two new pairs of running shorts. I will be happy to weed out some of my older workout clothes. I love that place. It wasn’t busy, so I had three sales people helping me. I needed all three of them; I must have tried on half the clothes in the store. Too bad I couldn’t buy them all. Ooh, maybe that’s my new life goal. Redo my wardrobe so it comes 100% from Athleta and Ann Taylor. And then gets updated regularly.
It appears to be Crisis Week at work. I spent hours on conference calls with one client yesterday, and hours on conference calls with a different client today. Also, I went in early to help wrap up yesterday’s problems, but couldn’t do that (someone else did) because of the new crisis, AND I worked until 8pm because we’re short-staffed and I didn’t want to screw anyone on my team by making them work the late shift more than once this week, so I just finished an 11-hour day. Half of it was productive, much of it was annoying. But it’s over now. John just watched Atari: Game Over (which appears to be an episode (the only one?) in a series called Signal to Noise that maybe failed, based on the IMDB results), and the music over the end credits was happy enough to make those couple of minutes the best part of my day so far. Of course, Google is failing me – I can’t find the song. Don’t ruin this for me, Google!
But hey – I feel much better than I did, and it was super-duper nice to work the afternoon from home. My twice-monthly meetings with my boss start next week, so I plan to make this a regular thing and let everyone get used to the idea. I want to talk to her about it before I do it, but it’s going to happen.
Reading is next, and bed, and tomorrow is Thursday, and you know what? I really like Thursdays.
Today was not a good day for getting anything complicated done. Or anything easy, if it took more than 30 seconds. I’m sure it would have been different if anything had been interesting or on my list of things I want to do. The music from Pirates of the Caribbean (the film score, not “Yo Ho (A Pirate’s Life For Me)”) was going through my brain (just that one snippet – dum dum de-de-dum-dum de-de-dum-dum de-de-dum), and I think that was part of the problem. Maybe if it were longer, I could have focused for longer on one thing. Instead, I’d get to the end of that one bar, decide I must be done with whatever I was doing, and move on to the next thing. Except I WASN’T done, and then I didn’t get through the next thing, either, and wouldn’t it be nice if I could just go home and read my book? I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have had trouble focusing on my book.
On the other hand, I had plenty of bite-size tasks, and today was the perfect day to get those done.
Remember how yesterday I was going to leave work early and enjoy some sunshine? Yeah…I shouldn’t have said it out loud. The universe didn’t take it well.
“Oh, you want to leave early? You’re a little frustrated with work? Looking forward to some nice spring weather? Need a break? Oh, ha ha ha. That’s so cute. Tee hee. That you should have such aspirations – oh, it’s too much. Really. Pardon me while I wipe away tears of hilarity. Oh, ha. Hum. Hee. YOU WILL BE PUNISHED.”
A three hour conference call began at 3pm. I left work at 6:30. I might need to placate the universe somehow. I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to offend!
Update: It JUST occurred to me that yesterday was April Fool’s Day. Was this a cosmic joke?
I used to be organized. I think. Or at least I felt organized. This is mostly about work, not home stuff, but I could do better about the home stuff, too. Work has been nothing but crisis management for me for weeks. Months, maybe. It’s getting old, but I could handle that if I could stop feeling like I’m dropping everything else. And I don’t know what “everything else” is anymore.
This is manageable. I can fix this. I just need to put everything back in order.
I’m not sure how I’m going to do that.
Maybe it’s an excuse to buy office supplies! That might make me feel better, but I don’t think it’ll solve my problems. A better to-do list might actually help. A better idea of what should be ON my to-do list would help a lot.
I can DO this!
I need a better to-do list for work. I’ve tried a rolling spreadsheet (I had a macro that would create a new tab with the current date and include all of the items from the previous tab – then I could just delete completed items), I’ve tried random text documents (I lose them or forget about them), and then I moved on to using my Outlook calendar. That worked for a while. I either add an appointment early in the day with a reminder, or I mark something as an all day task, with or without a reminder. Every time I look at my calendar (which is a lot – I have a lot of meetings), I’m reminded of the things I have to do. If I don’t finish a task, I can move those from day to day, or if they have reminders, leave them (as long as I don’t dismiss the reminders) and they’ll continue to appear in front of my face when the reminder thing pops up.
- I start ignoring the popups. I get so used to seeing the same tasks (because I have to keep putting off the low priority ones in favor of the crisis of the hour), and the list keeps growing, and it keeps growing with low priority issues…so I just ignore the popup reminder.
- If I ignore the popup because I don’t want to look at the long list of tasks I’m being reminded to do (because I don’t have time to do them because crisis of the hour has my attention), I miss ACTUAL reminders of ACTUAL meetings. Today, for instance, I was 20 minutes late to a meeting because I paid no attention to the Outlook reminder thingy.
So this isn’t working anymore. Maybe I’ll try the Excel thing again. I’ve never actually tried Outlook’s task list – maybe I’ll try that first. I just know that what I have is failing me. Or I’m failing it.
I’ve lost it completely. I can’t concentrate on work because I want to work on packing and moving. I can’t concentrate on moving and packing because I want to focus on last-minute things (like packing) for next week’s vacation. I can’t focus on the vacation because then I feel guilty. For one, John isn’t going (it’s just me and Min), so it doesn’t seem fair to think only about that. Second, I feel guilty because I should be paying attention to house stuff and only house stuff. And work. But mostly house stuff. The end result is that I can’t pay attention to anything. I’m like a goldfish. Or Dory. Who are you again? I’ll just keep swimming.
Four-day weeks are the LONGEST weeks because you still have to do five days’ worth of work. I think all I’ve done this week here is complain about work (why? see previous sentence), so maybe I won’t do that right now.
What will I do instead?
Hmph. I guess I don’t have anything to talk about tonight. Actually, I do have things to talk about (a thing, anyway), but I want to talk about it tomorrow. It’s crowding out everything else in my brain, so I’m at a loss right now.
Okay, I’ll tell you.
We have a date! A closing date! A moving date! And holy shit – it’s only five weeks away! !!!!!!! Life just got very busy. And stressful, but in a good way. We made some lists tonight and sent a couple of emails, and now we’re going to beat the stress by having some tea (decaf – I’d like to sleep tonight) and cookies and watching TV.
Today has been nuts. I haven’t focused on one thing for more than ten minutes at a time all day. Someone just came over to ask me if I ever got an answer to a question I asked in an email I sent no more than 2 hours ago, and I had no idea what he was talking about. He had to actually show me the email before I remembered it.
Yoga tonight. Deep breathing. Mind clearing.
I just had a work conversation with a friend of mine that nearly turned into a fight. Verbal, of course. I’d never hit her. (Hard. I mean, at all.) We were discussing an issue, and I told her people were looking into it, and then she started going on about how we were really going to have to tell our customers something because if we were going to do it this way, they need to know. I agree with her, except that in this case, we’re most likely NOT going to keep doing that thing. It’s not correct, and I’m sure the people who are looking into it are coming to that conclusion. So we don’t NEED to tell our customers every time we do it because we’re going to STOP doing it. I started to say we don’t need to warn our customers every time, but she interrupted me before I could say “because it’s a bug and we’re going to fix it” and got very heated about how it’s not okay NOT to tell them, and I couldn’t get her to stop long enough for me to finish my sentence. Then she stopped to breathe, I was able to get a word in, and we’re fine.
Yeah, okay, it wasn’t anything close to a fight. But it was annoying and unnecessary, and it’s a good thing she’s far away and this was a phone call. Or maybe that made it harder…
I don’t like to fight with people I know. I don’t really like to fight with anybody, but if you’re on my doorstep (or on the phone) and not listening when I tell you I’m not interested in what you’re selling, I will be direct and I will tell you to go away. Are you supposed to be providing me a service and you’re doing it badly? I will not roll over and let you (I am my father’s daughter). It’s situational, of course. How annoying is the problem? How seriously does it affect me? I usually don’t go all confrontational in restaurants out of worry that someone will do something to my food, and I don’t do it while driving out of fear that the nutjob tailgating me has a gun or something. Just about anything else is fair game. I work in customer service, so I try to be fair when I’m talking to someone else in customer service, but that also means that I know how it SHOULD work. I will switch companies based on that alone (and I have – I’m looking at you, Bank), but I will also let supervisors know when I get really GOOD service. I emailed United about the super-helpful ticket agent after their fiasco with the canceled flight to Orlando a few years ago, and Navy Federal and USAA provide consistently wonderful service. Why can’t everyone? I love ThinkGeek’s customer service, and I’ve heard wonderful things about Zappos (but I’ve never needed to deal with them). It’s really not hard, people. Is it telling that I started talking about fighting and moved on to customer service? Calling customer service shouldn’t have to be a fight!
I’m sorry. A small annoyance with a work friend turned into a mini-rant about customer service. It’s IMPORTANT, damn it!
We have a decorating contest at work every year. I never participate (I don’t even decorate at home, most years), but some people go all out. It’s amazing. I share an office with one of the contest judges, and she likes to decorate (we can’t compete, but still), so I now work in a winter wonderland. Sort of. It’s like a winter-ish okay-land. She put fake snow on a couple of shelves and on her desk, added some plush snowmen and a snow globe, and she hung little ornaments on my fake plant. I think the fake snow looks like clouds, like we should have Care Bears instead of snowmen.
There’s a remarkable resemblance, right?
On my fake plant, the fake snow looks like fog.
My plant is hidden in the mist. Very mysterious.
And then we have South Park snowmen frolicking on the window.
So festive. (Such fun!) Our office is NOTHING like the cubes belonging to the people who take this seriously. One guy built a gingerbread house around his cube. Roof, walls, and a door. It looks great. Another guy painted 12 pictures, all Christmas-themed but patterned after famous paintings, and turned his cube into an art gallery. It’s incredible. This guy goes all out every year (he recreated the Grinch Who Stole Christmas last year, complete with security video of the Grinch stealing Christmas), but I think this year is his best. The paintings are REALLY good.
Today was a long day. It wasn’t long in actual, objective time (it was normal), but it felt like it was going on forever. It was nonstop, no breaks, and the whole week is going to be like that. It’s only Monday. I’m home now, and I’m going to put on soft pants, sit on the couch, eat my dinner, and watch TV. And go to bed early. Grump grump grump.
I’m so not getting into the details, but let’s just say that I pointed out to a new-ish employee something that he didn’t do quite right the night before (nicely – I’m ALWAYS nice), I heard a tone in his response that was shrug-it-off/I-don’t-care/I-hear-you-but-I’m-not-going-to-do-that, I was a little sharp in my reply, and he didn’t like it. So off we went to a meeting where he told me he didn’t like being treated that way.
We discussed it, and it’s resolved, and we’re back to behaving normally, but what a way to ruin my day by 9am. And to make me be extra-special careful around this one person and second-guess every interaction. Ugh.