Isn’t it the most frustrating when things don’t go as planned?
You know what’s more frustrating though? When you put an insurmountable amount of work into something for it all to disappear.
This used to happen when I worked at an office. I used excel spreadsheets, and I cannot tell you how many times I’d finish a huge report for it all to crash on me.
You’d think it would become easier and easier to deal with the unexpected, but it never is. I would walk away feeling so incompetent that I had to extend a deadline even though it was out of my control. What a blow to the ego.
I don’t have to deal with that anymore since I left my job, but I realized I hold myself to the same expectations. I guess habits are hard to break.
Last night, I finally finished my blog post, which took me longer than expected, and went to save my draft like normal.
Then, this happened: I got a WordPress failure warning.
I wasn’t too scared though because WordPress is stellar at saving and restoring drafts. I knew that once the page pulled up, I would get a message about an autosave, and I could just revert it back.
That DID NOT happen this time, my friends!
My page came up blank, and there was no restore option. All of the sudden I had a visualization of being in the movie Jaws. I was all alone in this vast ocean, and all I could hear was..
duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn
My mind kicked up thoughts like, “Are you freakin’ serious?!?!
But here’s the thing. The universe doesn’t care about my schedule and plans. And, the universe certainly isn’t responsible for my happiness. I’m the only one that can create that.
Then I realized, I doubt you really care if I go an extra day between posts. That was my biggest concern, and I was beating myself up over it.
Man……I’m my own boss now, and I’m still dealing with these issues. Sigh.
Why does it seem like the end of the world?
I know I’m not alone on this. It dawned on me, these expectations are the reason most of us feel inadequate and drown in overwhelm.
No matter how well we plan, it’s hard to cope when things take an unexpected turn.
Before I worked it all out, I had to take a step back for some reflection.
My Quick Fix For Anxiety & Frustration:
1. I stepped away from the computer. It was just obviously time for a break.
2. I grabbed my gratitude journal. I wrote down five things that happened over the past week that I was grateful for.
3. I set my timer for 30 minutes and meditated. I envisioned myself back in Twentynine Palms at the Vipassana retreat I attended, and just sat with my eyes closed and focused on my breath.
(My Happy Place)
All of these things together made my heart a little happier, made me a little calmer, and gave me a clearer perspective.
As a practicing yogi, I know that the good, the bad, and the ugly will always exist in one state. Yoga practice helps us to form the habits to be less reactive, so that the frustrating moments just run their course.
The more I practice, the more I’m able to catch these negative states in their act, and put what I learn in my daily practice to work.
Here are some other ways to give your mind a rest, and create calm when your feeling stressed:
a. Take a walk
b. Pick up an inspiring book like the yoga sutras and read an excert.
c. Clean: do the dishes or laundry. This might take your mind off the frustration.
d. Call a friend that you can vent to.
The possibilities are really endless.
The main thing to remember is – plans are good to have, but nothing really ever goes as planned. We’re way harder on ourselves than anyone around us.
Rewrite Your Plan:
Jeff Sutherland, creator of SCRUM, talks about rewriting our plans throughout the day. In terms of work projects, he says humans are awful at estimating time and dealing with the unexpected. His concept is all about creating a plan knowing things will change. Then, as things change – stop, rewrite your plan, and continue on the new plan. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Since so many unexpected things happen – once something throws you off – just re-plan, and recommit. If we know this going in, the pressure’s off.
Homework Time (YES)!
What’s your technique when something happens that you didn’t expect. How do you deal with it when all of your hard work comes crashing down on you? Tell me in the comments!