I had a wild thought the other day that I would like you to join me in envisioning: Think about all of the places you store things… your iCloud, One Drive, Google Drive, house, or even your car. Now imagine if these software systems crashed or in the case of your physical belongings, they burst into flames. I know it is a super scary and crazy thought, but it really got me thinking. We have this trust and belief that our software is reliable and will always be there when we need it. Very rarely do we leave the house hoping or thinking that we will come back to ashes. There is a strong belief that we will always have access to the things we need when we need them. If we did not believe that, I doubt a lot of us would keep our most treasured photos or long-term contracts in the cloud, or even invest in material possessions. After creating that horrific visual in my mind (and now yours), I transitioned my thinking into my own moral ethics. There are people in this world that need you and I, whether we realize it or not. No matter how useless or pointless you may feel at times, I never want you to forget that you are an answer to someone’s question. You and I cannot afford to crash because the people and systems that depend on us expect for us to be available when we say we will.
Although we are physical beings, our minds can be likened to computer software and storage. Believe it or not, there are things that only you can do like you. This is the value you bring to any job you have ever worked and any business you will ever create. People call, hire, or come to you because of the unique value that you bring to their needs. I provided the visual in the beginning of this post to remind you what it feels like to lose someone or something important. We often forget that and live selfishly as though our decisions only affect ourselves. If I decide today that I will block off my calendar for the rest of the month without warning or announcement, I can already think of several people who will feel betrayed by my decision. I am not saying that I did not have a good reason to do so, but if not done carefully, I will hurt a lot of people in the process. I have client sessions scheduled that would go unattended, blogs to write that people would never get to read, and services that would not be offered as people wrap up their year. So, alongside my thoughts on why people may crash in the first place, I would love to share ways to avoid “crashing”.
1 . Overload
- In the same way that software crashes, people are very similar. When our minds are bogged down with so much information (thoughts), it can make it difficult to care about anyone else. Have you ever thought, wow they did not even consider or think at me at all when they made that decision. Unfortunately, chances are that they were not thinking about you. When people become overwhelmed with their personal lives and demands, it becomes impossible for them to even think or care about the next person or deadline.
- Solution: This is probably the simplest answer, but please make sure you are resting. Resting does not always look like sleep, but I do not want us to ignore that basic human need either. Make sure you are taking time to sleep because this is when your brain is able to run its version of a system update. I know you have a lot going on and feel the need to get it done, but structure your time so that your brain can get a breather as well. Also, invest in self-care days. These are times where you rest, but are not sleeping. It is okay to invest a few minutes or hours into leisure reading or even a massage. [I will write a full blog on some tips and ideas for self-care days, but understand that the options are endless and are completely up to you on what puts your mind at ease.]
2. Poor Planning
- You know why most companies let you choose when you update your software or why they make major changes in the wee hours of the morning when most people are sleeping? They want to cause as little disruption as possible while still being able to provide you with optimal service. I worked at a software company for years, and one thing that I learned is that all system-wide updates were planned. External emails were sent out to our clients in advance to alert them of any changes so that they could schedule around the outages. We have to learn to be cognizant of our time and how poor planning negatively affects others. Unless you are dealing with an extremely unreasonable person, most people’s qualm with disappointment is that they were not notified ahead of time.
- Solution: If you have not read it already, please take some time to read my blog, Managing Your Day. It focuses on the importance of time management that should help if you are struggling with time management. Also, please learn to utilize your calendar or written devices to help you remember your commitments. If you are always on your phone, adding even the smallest tasks to your calendar will keep you on track with what is ahead. You can even invest in a physical dry erase calendar to hang up on your wall so that you wake up to it every morning. If you love constant visuals, invest in some sticky notes that you can put anywhere you look at a lot. Some of my clients post sticky notes all over their bathroom and bedroom mirrors to remind them of action items that they have scheduled. The best way to avoid poor planning is to be fully aware of what you have planned.
- The nerd in me is loving all of the opportunities to use technical analogies, so here is one more: if you have ever tried your hand in coding, you will know that you will receive an error if what you are computing does not exist. If you try to execute a line that is nonsensical to how the database was built, it will fail. A lot of times, we can crash when we are expected to do something that does not necessarily align with our mental and physical capabilities. This causes stress and insecurities which can end in failure. A simple example is switching someone who usually works the day shift to the night shift. If their bodies are not used to waking up and sleeping at odd times, it can be a tough adjustment
- Solution: Always try to be completely aware of any requirements and pertinent details before you commit to a job, task, or event. Make sure to ask the right questions so that nothing comes as a surprise to you and so that you can confirm that it actually makes sense for the type of person that you are. Although I love event planning, when I get inquiries that specifically ask for balloon decorators, I always decline. There is no point in taking on a job where I know I cannot deliver. The same goes for personal engagements—if someone invites you to a club, and you know you are not a big drinker or a fan of loud music, politely decline the invitation. There is no use of you accepting it knowing that you will likely back out same-day, or if you do show up, completely regretting the decision and showing your distaste for it. As you become more and more self-aware, you will get better at avoiding things that will result in a mismatch.
For this week’s challenge, I would like for you to say “no” to one invitation. This could be an outing with your coworkers, a night out with your friends, or even going out to eat for lunch knowing that you are budgeting this quarter. The goal is to say “no” to something that you know you may be stretching yourself thin to accomplish. Please do not say “no” to a work deadline from your boss and say that Prisca said so, I am begging you. (lol) My hope is that we can take actionable steps to managing our minds and bodies because my biggest ask this year is please do not crash– Simply because your world is depending on you.