Recovering From a Day of Lost Productivity

I work for myself. I run my own business. An unproductive day costs me time, money and opportunity. It can cost even more.
 
Today, I lost a day of productivity. I do schedule days off. Working for myself, I often end up working many more days than a full week before I get a day off.
 
I do not recommend this approach. It is something that happens.
 
Losing a day of productivity, an unscheduled day, is one of the consequences of going too far.
 
Among other things, I am also a single father with 50/50 custody of my children. Unlike 100/0 single parents, I do get a week at a time when I do not have to look after my children.
 
This is not a situation I would have ever chosen. Life happens. We adapt.
 
Generally, I am more likely to get a day off during the week that I do not have my children. Raising children on the week that I do have them is a full time job.
 
This is not a complaint. I am working to be mindful of my circumstances, my strengths, weaknesses etc.
 
As I shift from a ‘single’ week into a ‘single parent’ week, I am more likely to run myself down.
 
This week, I was doing a great job of balancing things. I made excellent progress with client projects. I moved the ball towards a goal with new proposals. I coordinated some business meetings to drive more business. I helped clients solve problems to get better results.
 
I did not give myself anytime off. I gave myself some moments off. I walked through a park Tuesday morning and exercised too. I jogged with a dog friend of mine later that day.
 
I also worked late every night this last weekend and every day this week.
 
I got a lot done Wednesday, but encountered a personal set back that day too. It snow balled into wearing me down through the night Wednesday. I did not sleep well.
 
Thursday was not a productive day for business. I got a lot done as a parent. I needed to do both.
 
I write this now at 10:14 pm. My daughter is tucked in and I am almost ready for sleep myself. I needed to get this out of my system to let the lost day go. I need to ensure that I rest tonight. I will wake in the morning and help a good friend first thing. She has helped me tremendously in more ways than I can count.
 
Then, I will dive into my business day. It might be a long day and night of work. I’m looking forward to accomplishing a great deal.
 
I lost a day of productivity today. My batteries were not charged enough. Unscheduled ‘days off’ the ones that are retroactive. Those days when it is not until 4:38pm when we realize, I haven’t accomplished anything today. These days rarely feel like recharging days.
 
We have not gifted ourselves a day off. We do not enjoy them. We are not resting.
 
By the end of the day, I found myself caught in a riptide of lost productivity. I swam the entire day. It was hard work.
 
I went no where. I did not swim the length of the beach. I did not swim across the bay. I did not even rest and recharge on the beach.
 
I fought the ocean going no where.
 
Tonight, I need to recharge on the beach. I need to soak in the moonlight and drift on the grains of sand and enjoy the wind dusting my face.
 
The least I can do, and the least I will do today, is give myself a head start on tomorrow!

Note ~ This post was written in the past and schedule in the future. These events did not occur today nor this week (time of publishing). I find that I can write more candidly when I add a little time and space to a publishing date.

The Wait is On

I am sitting here at the moment kicking and churning through some wait induced anxiety.  I only fully started to recognize the feeling for what it was (anxiety that is) as it slowly, ever so slowly, increased to the point where I stopped doing…

My first inclination was to take a walk or practice some yoga. Instead, I held back. I will still do this, but thought it might be more useful to let myself feel what I need to feel in this moment.

I’m not choosing to soak in the anxiety and let it permeate into every pore and take over.

I’m doing what I do, and working through the feeling. There’s more there than just anxiety itself. There are drivers and causes and triggers and all sorts of clutter in my mind.  I can zero those out, reboot my mental computer and start fresh.

This will be healthy.

I can also quickly delve into what those drivers and causes and triggers and other clutter, I can look and see what is there. I can better understand what process it is that started spinning a strange loop in my head until my cerebral processor got stuck there and the anxiety meter started to increase.

This writing will serve exactly that introspective purpose.  Then I’ll practice yoga. 🙂

So what is going on with me?

Unlike, my laptop, I can’t pop open a screen and see which processes are running and which ones are not responding.

I can reach down deep and identify the feeling in my mind and in my gut.

At the moment, I am having one of those gut level feelings combined with lots of thoughts in my head.

Science has discovered that we next to our brains, our guts have the second most neurons in our bodies. A gut feeling is not just a feeling, it is neurons in our gut firing and doing something useful for us.

At a high level, I have three four external events that are contributing to my anxiety. These are the external pressures that are cooking up the thoughts in my instant pot mind.

  • Waiting to hear about a potential new job
  • Bills coming due
  • Unpaid invoices in the wind
  • My To Do list for this week including multiple projects

The item at the top of the list is the 800lb gorilla of this batch of items.

Backstory on the job I did not get

Late last year and into the beginning of this year, I applied for a great job with a great company. I went through multiple interviews, and at the end of it I was one of two people considered for the position. The other person got the job. I am not aware of the other person’s qualifications nor how they stack up against my own. I am not aware of how they did in interviews compared to how I performed.

I do know just one thing. They were able to live and work locally for the job whereas I would have been a remote employee.

Fast Forward to Today – Back in the running

I wanted that job then. I would have been good at that job.

Two weeks ago, I noticed that a very similar job had been reposted on the company’s website. I reached out to the HR Manager.

Then a few days later, I noticed that a different job, had also posted. It was different but something that I was also qualified to do as well. I reached out to the HR Manager again. I had not received a reply from the first inquiry.

Then a couple days later, the headhunter that had first put me in touch with the company last year, contacted me to see if I was interested in the first job.

I was. I said so.

As it turns out, the original person that did get the job had not worked out. I do not know the reasons. They are mostly none of my business.

I am curious if the company might have learned something about their needs or requirements, maybe something that I could help with more. Or maybe something that would be good to know so as to avoid ‘not working out’ in the future…

Two days ago, I heard back from the HR Manager. It was a quick note to let me know they were looking into things.

From the head hunter, I got the impression that they were attempting to figure out what they should do, such as:

  • Did they need to take a new pool of candidates?
  • Did they need to interview them all?
  • Would the need to interview me again?
  • Could they just send me an offer?
  • Maybe a bunch of other stuff too.

I have been a hiring manager many times in my past careers. Sometimes, I have had to start over and collect a new pool of candidates. Other times, I just went from the person on the top of the list, to the next person on the list.

I am hopeful that they will simply go to the next person on the list, me.

🙂

I am tired of waiting.

This is one of the feelings that I am working through. I am an extremely patient person. Still, I can feel the need to get things moving too.

Right now, I feel the need to see things flow. I feel the need to ‘know’ what is going to happen next and get busy making that happen.

Those other three things

The next two things are tied together. I have bills to pay. I have outstanding invoices that have not been paid. I need the outstanding invoices to be paid so that I can pay the bills. I have not heard from the people I sent the invoices to in several days. One is out of the office on vacation. The invoice might have been processed before the departure, or maybe not.  I have little visibility to whether or not the invoice will be paid sooner or later.

This is a yin and yang aspect of my finances.

This is an obvious source for some of my anxiety. It would not normally be enough to grind me to a halt, but with the big one, the unknown job situation and potential, this is fueling the anxiety a bit more.

Finally my remaining projects

This is both a source for anxiety and also a source for curing my anxiety. (another paradox)

On the one hand, working through my projects is helping to keep me calm and patient. I am making progress on my projects. I have a half dozen that I am working currently.  These are not large projects in terms of money. They are important to me and to my clients and partners.

They do require energy, focus and forward progress.

Anxiety can rob me of all of those things, hence this quick break to talk it out with myself (and then do yoga).

If I am being honest with myself, I have been working at about 66% of my normal speed on these projects over the last 3 days.

The anticipation of the new job is distracting me. I have had a few family distractions as well on top of that.

So I feel like I am not wrapping or launching (as the case may be) these projects fast enough. Moving through them, might even result in earning some extra money fast enough to help with the bills if the other unpaid invoices remain unpaid longer.

It is one thing to know a thing, it is another to be able to do something about it.

There are times when we can see a problem in front of us, and we can’t avoid it at all. My memory sometimes goes back to the tidal waves around Fukushima that washed over the land. News choppers caught on camera people caught by those waves. They could see them coming, but they couldn’t always get to higher/ safer ground fast enough.

This is not one of those situations for me.

I have experienced that in the past and this is not one of those times. I am moving. I am getting things done. I am improving things.

My computer is slogging through the work (talking about my brain and myself not my actual computer).

it’s just a little bogged down and over heated with the anxiety from everything above.

I have written this and purposefully shared it to acknowledge the feelings and the experiences and the true stresses deriving from them.

This is simply Step 1. I am acknowledging the challenge, some might call it the shadow.

I can feel the shadow. I can know that I am walking through a shadow, under a cloud if you will. I can feel the difference in the temperature in the shadow.

I know that I am not the shadow. The feelings of anxiety, these are not me. They are not part of me.

I am simply feeling the shadow.

Step 2 is to reboot my mind. 

Now that I know what it is that is stuck in my processor and I have acknowledged the truth of the situation, it is safe to reboot my computer, let my processor cool down for a few minutes and then start it back up again.

For me, this means yoga.

I can run or walk and pause the processor. That itself is a type of relief from anxiety. It is not a full reboot.

I need the full reboot that yoga brings. Then I can tackle one thing at a time again. Currently, the anxiety is a bit higher because I am feeling and processing a little bit of everything all at once.

I can’t process everything all at once. This is not how I multi-task even.

I am going to leave off here. I am going to work through Step 2.

Then I am going to jump back into Step 3, and work through the things that I can do in the here and now.

I am always looking for better ways to do everything. This is just a glimpse into my current process. There is more to it than my 3 steps.  These just happen to be my next 3 steps and not all of the steps I use.

Regardless, I’m always interested in other ways to work through things. Ways I might improve or change things up to avoid letting things get stale. Love to hear your thoughts or even just hear a word of encouragement or a wish of good luck!

I would be grateful for any and all of those things.

Today’s Standup Desk Brought to you by Nature

Good Morning!


It is a beautiful Thursday morning on October 13. I am standing on a ledge by Crowder’s Mountain’s summit. I have found another amazing standup desk. I collect my thought…

Just above my screen I see the branch of a pine tree jutting out of the rock holding my desktop. My reflection is prominent in the screen I type on.

I am self reflecting.


A couple a few ledges up and to my right are fooling around a bit. Judging by the laughter, tickling is involved. Nothing crazy, it is a public spot. Just a happy morning.

Sting plays in my earbuds, Desert Rose is just starting.

I am emerging into something of an easier, time. I can feel it. I can witness it.

My recent past has included lots of challenges. Major challenges, not little ones, have popped up at each turn.

The turns are straightening out. I have been bushwacking a bit of a path through the woods of my life.  I seem to have hiked out onto a distant path in the midst of nowhere. The path back became obstructed and my only option was to make a new path.

There were times when this was easy and there were times that I had to hack my way to earn every step.

Lately, it has been more difficult as I struggle with my business and career. Other things have settled a bit, or at least have found amazing new comforts and life in a relationship started last December. I fell in love then. I kept falling in love every month after that, more and more.

Falling in love is a terrific feeling, it is a terrific experience.

I wasn’t completely prepared for it, not personally nor was I even stable enough financially or anything.

Love has a weird and great way of grabbing you when you least expect it sometimes. I do not take it for granted.. I do not take the woman I love for granted.

I am healing. I am growing. Together even, we are healing individually and healing together. We are growing together as well.

I’ll be able to see this wonderful lady again in about 36 hours.

This is one of the powers of love. You count the minutes, you count the hours, you savor every minute. You live.

It is all too easy to ‘feel’ that the other person is giving you this feeling. Sometimes as we grow, the feeling recedes. We can move into a new stage of a relationship even. If we mistakenly felt the other person was ‘giving’ the feeling of love, and then we move into a different stage and do not feel it in the same way, we can mistakenly feel  that the other person took the love away. We can feel that they love us less.

I do not feel this at all, right now. I have become aware of the stages of love and relationships through educating myself. (See some of the recommended books on this site, they were eye opening and very useful and practical. They should be required teaching for anyone that is married or getting married. They are as important as birthing classes for expecting parents.

I found my lesson late in life. I am living it now.

I know now that the feeling of love I have is a feeling I am giving myself. It is a feeling I am nurturing and growing. I am mindful of my love for Sharon. The love I have for her also reflects the love I have for myself.

It is very easy in this moment in time to know that I am ‘open’ to love in general and that the energy it gives me is without limit. I am literally basking in sunlight on a mountain top. In fact, I just took my shirt off and rolled up my shorts a bit. I’m taking a sun bath.

It is only about 50 degrees outside, but in the full morning rays of the sun, it feels like it is 80 degrees.

I feel like I am on a breezy Caribbean beach.

I do not take anything away from Sharon when I say I can love her because I love myself. She is amazing, beautiful and has an energy and a light shining from her that is as strong as the sun I bathe in now.

Together, we are growing something very special. It is perfect for what we need right now. I believe we will be able to grow that to be perfect for what we will need.

This is an amazing part of my work.

I get to stand on top of a mountain half naked in the sun and write about the woman I love on a Thursday morning.

Well, my work is evolving. I am writing more again. This will become a more and more important part of my future income.

I have a lot of skills and experience to draw from. As I work to heal and fix my career and business, one of my challenge is too many options.

One of my frustrations has been that in my past, when I was young. I could throw a dart and pick any option and use any skill and succeed.

Those skills have not decreased, but I am now in a different phase of life. I feel like the universe or maybe my inner consciousness or whatever … It is forcing me to be mindful and make a very specific choice. When I try ‘anything’ and choose from any of my skills, the results do not work nearly as well.

I am fighting my own destiny.

I am an optimist. I look down a hall and see and endless line of doors opening to options. Picture Neo in The Matrix, he can see through the code that makes the doors and the walls even. He has unlimited options. How does he choose?

He is past the binary choice of one pill or another. Now his choices are infinite.

This is me. I have infinite choices.

There is another difference.

The doors are locked. There are only a few that are open.

I could ‘force’ any of them. Forcing them wastes time and creates frustrations and I end up having to leave that room and move on down the hall, my path towards the right door.
I even know what door I need. I know what I am looking for.

I am not at that door yet.

I have to keep walking.

Plus, there is a toll to navigate this hall!

I have to keep feeding the hall coins or tokens, money. To earn that money, I have to force a few doors every now and then and make things happen that are not really a part of my destiny.

Some are better fits than others, but some of them do not even pan out!

I am so close and yet not there yet.

Sting is singing ‘Fill her up’ talking about traveling on the open road.”I need a full tank of gas where I am headed… Up in the front seat, a pretty red head. We’re going to Vegas and getting married.”

Sharon is a red head.

🙂

My iPad cursor is slow. It is far behind the words I have typed. I step away and stretch. I have already done yoga on this ledge.

I step forward and type these additional lines knowing that it will just increase the time it takes for my iPad to catch up with my writing.

That is ok. I can type well and sometimes in life we need the reminders to slow down and think more.

Deep breath!

Time to head down this mountain. I have some amazing things to do for my clients today. Yesterday was a very good day and I have some amazing clients doing great work and things for many many people near and far.

I am helping to make them successful and helping by extension to help thousands and maybe millions of people from coast to coast and even around the world.

I hope wherever you are today, if you have read this, maybe I have helped you in some way and you will be able to pay that forward first by making a great day for yourself and second, maybe for those that you love.

If lucky, no if you are mindful and do what you can and explore your potential and demonstrate the power of your own mojo, you are going to make a difference to many people too.

I love you for trying and thank you for reading this!