“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”
I like organization. It doesn’t come naturally to me; I have to work at it. But I’ve found that without a daily plan, I get far less done, and there’s always some fire to stomp out. I hate fires.
This tidbit about myself isn’t something I’ve just discovered. I realized it many years ago and have worked with a daily plan regularly since I did. It’s taken a lot of stress and annoyances out of my life. It’s made me work more efficiently, and be more disciplined. I consider all those things positive and when others marvel at how much I get done, I can honestly say, daily planning is how I do what I do.
But that doesn’t mean that things don’t come up and I have no fires, only fewer of them.
Since the Jacksonville Conference at the first of April, I’ve have a virtual forest fire raging. I came home from that conference with a throat infection and lost my voice for a week and a half. Because resistance was down, I got everything else that came along. That included: tonsillitis, strep, sinusitis and for grins an upper respiratory tract infection. Just to keep things really interesting, I had an allergic reaction to something–still no idea what–that had me in hives.
As a result, April was not a pleasant month.
But I pulled out the laptop and even with 101.6 temp, I got my daily quota of pages done. Actually, since I was up anyway, I got more written.
The days where I chug along sans upset, I call Plan A days. I actually get to execute the plan as I wrote it.
Plan A days are rare. When my applecart gets upset, I revise and go to Plan B, or C, or as in April, often to Plan ZZ.
The point is, I still get some things done, and because I prioritize the list, it’s the most important things. Fewer fires to stomp out as a result.
But these aren’t really the things I wanted to talk about just now. I wanted to talk about events that have occurred in the past week, where Plan A days have consistently been relegated to memory and the impact it’s had on my life.
I’ve been working hard on the business end of the writing business. Matters that were both unexpected and unavoidable that had to be resolved fast, efficiently, and accurately because they involved other people. When you start a project and include others, and something breaks, it doesn’t really matter how it broke or who broke it, you stop everything you’re doing except breathing and do everything humanly possible to fix it. It’s a matter of ethics, trust, faith and responsibility.
The key is, of course, to get emotion out of the way and get solution-oriented to get the challenges resolved.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? It should be, but it isn’t easy. Sometimes people, being human, just need to vent and until they do, they can’t even think about solutions. They have to think about the problem. Be angry about it. Frustrated that they’ve got to waste time on it. Wish like hell the people involved would get over it and get on with moving forward.
The reaction depends on where you’re sitting in the boat. If you’re on the end with the hole in it, you want the puppy plugged. If you’re sitting high and dry, you’re a little more willing to wallow a little.
But the truth is, regardless of which end of the boat you’re in, anxiety is building. For what you’re not getting done; at the tensions escalating around you, or within you; by the destructive or hurtful things you’ve said, or that have been said to you, or that have been said between others around you, or about you. Things that can’t be taken back. Whether you’re a participant or an observer, these situation create a lot of anxiety.
I guess all situations that require conflict resolutions provoke anxiety. And when we’re anxious we focus only on that which has us anxious. But at some point, it has to be accepted that this doesn’t fix a thing. To do that, we have to get to the resolution phase.
As soon as that corner is turned, it’s amazing how much brighter and more hopeful things can look. It’s amazing how attitudes can change and tensions can ease, and interactions can be on a positive footing again. Don’t misunderstand me. The challenges were still there to be addressed and corrected, but the focus shift put the participants in a position to be able to do that constructively rather than sliding back into a destructive pattern.
In short order, a cooperative spirit emerged. In hours, progress began taking place. In less than 24-hours, all but one challenge had been resolved, and significant progress was occurring on it. In 48 hours, it was as if a new world had replaced the old. And while the last detail isn’t totally complete just yet, there is no longer stifling disagreement. There isn’t no longer tight-wire tension. There is no longer high anxiety. And everyone involved is surely breathing a collective sigh of relief.
You know, Plan A days are great. Plan B days aren’t bad either. But when everyone involved in what could have been a very bad situation emerges from it feeling confident that fairness has prevailed and they’re now in a situation with a lot of positive potential, even Plan ZZ days are very good days.
I guess sometimes strength can only be found on the other side of a little anxiety.
But for me, a little anxiety goes a long way. 🙂
“Trust is earned, one book at a time.”
–Vicki Hinze http://vickihinze.com
Note: I edit books and professional correspondence. But I do NOT edit email or this blog. This is chat time for me, so if the grammar is goofed or a word’s spelled wrong, please just breeze on past it. I’d appreciate it–and salute you with my coffee cup. 🙂
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Copyright 2005. Vicki Hinze
Vicki Hinze is a multi-published author, who has a free library of her articles on writing–the craft, business and life–at http://www.vickihinze.com.