This post has nothing to do with dancing. I recently took time off from a few things (including work) so I could focus on getting settled in my new place. While that was beneficial for my move, it has made other things temporarily suffer. But, today I’d like to tell you about how I’m getting back to center on everything ASAP.
I feel like I see a lot of posts and testimonials about making prioritized decisions out there but rarely do I see things that talk about getting back into balance after the prioritization aftermath. So, let’s see if we can shed a little light on that topic in this post. Your mileage may vary (ymmv) regarding these tips, but again – this is what I’m currently doing and it’s working for me.
Step #1: Understand What You Need to Do
First, before you jump into things head-first, do you know what needs to be done? It is an important question to answer because you may think some things are necessary when they’re not. I encourage you to take a day and reflect on what all is on your plate. LITERALLY, write yourself a To-Do List so that you see give form to the mental monster of obligations on your shoulders.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll have to do what I’ve explained in detail in a couple of other posts:
This step is about discovery. Now you know WHAT you need to do. Keep this list because you’ll actually be using it as you get back into the swing of things and find your groove. Let’s keep it moving…
Step #2: Pay Attention to Your New Availability
If you’ve been away for a bit like I was (e.g. I was away from blogging for a couple of months and I took off work for pretty much 3 weeks during the actual move), time will be different when you get back. You aren’t coming back to the same schedule, but a dynamically different environment.
It is important that you get a sense of that new environment and adapt accordingly.
For instance, I’m on the West Coast now whereas before, I was on the East Coast. I was accustomed to taking care of a number of things in the morning before work (like blogging, some light workouts, etc.) and doing certain things in the evening (like heavier workouts, hanging with friends, etc.) – but that’s different now.
I have decided to keep working on an East Coast schedule so that basically makes my mornings all about my day job now. I wake up, get ready to work, and then hop to that task. Other things have had to shift, and I have to be ok with that and learn to work in that setting.
What does your new environment look like? This step is about acknowledging your surroundings.
Step #3: Assassinate the “Big Fish”
This step is all about stress management (for me). If I know I have a huge deficiency somewhere, it stresses me out. So, I will often decide to just get that one off my plate. I call this one the “Big Fish”. This is the giant Mody Dick (yes, I know whales are mammals and not fish) that may literally haunt your dreams. You have to take that fish out as quickly as you can.
For me, the Big Fish at the moment is work.
Well, this may sound odd to some – but I like having a roof over my head 😂 On top of learning a literal new landscape for my surroundings, I just don’t want to have to worry about my performance at work – so I HAVE to get that mess in order.
Specifically, taking off 3-weeks put me behind on a particular project, and I know the major holiday season is right around the corner – so I needed to get things going again. Fast. That translated to me putting in multiple 12+ hour days this workweek in the spirit of catching up. No one made me do it. It was a personal choice to kill that damned fish and reduce the stress on my shoulders.
Things will temporarily suffer for this decision, but what else is new? Life is, in essence, trade-off after trade-off. For me, this translated into not blogging for the last week. That bothered me, sure – but I knew I’d feel better in the end without the Big Fish swimming around in my head, and I do.
Ok – you’ve taken out a major task and have some sense of control again. Ride those good vibes to the next maneuver.
Step #4: Take Notes & Use Your To-Do List
As you go through step #3, it’s important that you’re taking notes (either mental or literal) about how you’re feeling. Try to particularly notice what things are bringing you energy and what things are stressing you out (this will come in handy in the last step). This can be thoughts of the remaining tasks, but it can also be actual events that come up in the time spent on your biggest activity.
And as you complete stuff, use the list that you created in step #1. There is a little shot of dopamine that hits your brain as you cross things off of a To-Do List. Use that to keep you going!
As you combine this with checking little things off here and there — especially as you take the Big Fish off your plate — you’ll find that you’re getting something back that’s much needed in re-establishing any rhythm in life: Confidence. This step is all about helping unlock that sense of “I know what I’m doing and I’m comfortable” in your brain.
Humans don’t NEED things to be routine all of the time, but a little bit of structure helps. As I’ve been regaining my footing, I’ve taken particular notice that I enjoy walking around in my new city on the weekends. It has become a little ritual that just brings me joy. I plan to take you all with me on a trip to my favorite little downtown coffee shop tomorrow on the SoSoDOPE YouTube channel (not even being subtle about it – please take a sec and subscribe to the channel if you haven’t already — thanks in advance) 😊
I’ve also taken notes on what the best times are for me to do certain things. While I still work out in the evenings, I noticed that it probably makes more sense for me to write my blog posts at night through the week to be published the following day (or at least, promoted the following day) at various times.
Reconnect with your sources of comfort and unspoken personal boundaries.
Step #5: Have You heard of the Snowball Method?
Lastly, in the world of debt repayment, there’s an approach called the Snowball Method. I first heard about it in a book by Dave Ramsey book The Total Money Makeover back in the day, but I think this definition from Wells Fargo sums it up very nicely.
We’ve all seen the definition now, so are we clear on the concept? Any questions? Ok, moving along.
Take that method and apply it to the remainder of your To-Do List rather than applying it to your finances (unless… your finances are on your To-Do List…). Now that you have the Big Fish out of the way, you have a little more mental bandwidth for everything else.
Using the notes from step #4, take the time to sort your remaining things now by what would bring you the most joy or reduce the most stress. If there are literal deadlines, try your damndest to honor those – but do it at a pace that is great for you re-establishing balance in your new setting.
This step is about momentum. While it’s coined as the “snowball method”, I personally like to think of it in terms of dominoes at this point – all neatly stood up on their end and waiting for someone to apply a little pressure to that first tile and sit back to satisfyingly watch the other fall.
This approach has been working wonders for me thus far. You do go through a stage of frustration while killing the Big Fish, but it’s all comparatively downhill after that. You don’t necessarily have to do these steps one after the other to the point of completion, you can totally do them at the same time. But the order is helpful in terms of flow.
Mess around with it and find what suits you. Remember, ymmv – but take away what works best for your groove and make it your own! Good luck on your journey.