Time to Regain Control

I’m just back from giving two presentations to Media Network of Idaho. The good thing is that they were presentations I had previously given to organizations in Virginia so with a bit of tweaking I was ready to go. It still required travel and time away from the office, as well as giving up a weekend at home (the bonus, though, was a visit to Yellowstone in the fall, which was a good trade).
 

By Nina Matthews Photography

The presentations came on the heals of the NFPW Conference in Chicago, launching the website and representing my organization at a Rotary meeting. I also have launched a Writer Wednesday series at my local library.

 
I’ve had a lot on my plate both at work and at home. I recognize that these are activities I’m choosing to be involved with, and I really enjoy being involved. But, I was starting to feel overwhelmed.
 
One good thing is that the crisp temperatures of autumn are upon us and that always adds a spring to my step. My work, however, was still piling up. In fact, there were days I just couldn’t seem to get anything done. I was easily distracted.
One evening at home, I put a CD on and allowed myself to clean and organize my desk for as long as the CD was playing. When it was finished, I had to work for 47 minutes (I needed a random number to make it feel less like work) so I set the microwave timer and sat down at my desk. I finished one blog and made some updates to the NFPW website. Then I tackled the biggest item, which was finalizing the contest rules.
 
So now I’m doing the same thing at my office. One afternoon, I simply had enough. And for one hour, I allowed myself the luxury of cleaning out emails (I set a goal of reducing my inbox by 25), shredding papers and organizing files. At the end of that hour I felt much more relaxed.
 
Next I made a list of the big projects and deliverables that were waying me down. I prioritized them and set aside an appropriate amount of time for each one. Suddenly there were enough hours in the week to finish each of the assignments.
 
I don’t have a clean desk yet and my inbox is still not at the manageable point, but the “To Do” list is shorter, and at least now I feel as if I have a handle on it.
How do you regain control?