Keep Calm and Don’t Punch Anyone

This guest post was written by grad­uate can­di­date and full time pro­fes­sional, Kristina Swope.

Well, easier said than done. On days like today, where the humidity is 450% and I’m drowning in school­work and job respon­si­bil­i­ties, it’s incred­ibly dif­fi­cult not to take down inno­cent bystanders. When the biggest urge you have is to karate chop a coworker in the side just because they exist, it’s time to stop, take a deep breathe, and think about what can be done.

We hear about work-​​life bal­ance all the time. As a society, we talk about it con­stantly. It’s in arti­cles, blogs, and often dis­cussed in the work­place. The bottom line is the employee is respon­sible for their work-​​life bal­ance. In theory, it’s a great con­cept – when you can swing it.

But what about days like today? What about sit­ting at your desk at 9pm, when the flo­res­cent auto-​​lighting in the office has turned off on you and five people are shouting at you via email? You feel run-​​down, like nothing can be done fast enough or well enough for anyone’s liking. By the time you get home, the most energy you can muster results in laying on your living room floor watching the ceiling fan spin around.

I’m guilty of all the above. On more occa­sions than I’d like to admit, I’ve been one step away from rip­ping my hair out, just because it would be less painful than the stam­pede of people. Instead, I’ve started using a less painful tech­nique that has helped orga­nize the mil­lions of little tasks that have to be taken care of.

First, breathe. Close your eyes, stop your­self from reacting, and don’t allow your emo­tions to take you on a roller­coaster. No one actu­ally likes to go upside-​​down anyway, it just hap­pens and then after­wards we’re glad we survived.

Shut it down.  Even if you have a ton more to today, the best thing you can do for your­self is to shut down. Close the laptop, turn off the cell phone, and do some­thing you truly enjoy. Whether that’s catching up on a show in a blanket cocoon because you never have the time, or it’s going out to dinner with a friend, it’s just what your soul needs.

Make lists. Once you’re ready to reboot, the best way to move for­ward is to orga­nize your­self. If you’re jug­gling mul­tiple respon­si­bil­i­ties, it may help to make sep­a­rate lists. Per­son­ally, I make one list of tasks for school, one for work, and one for per­sonal. Looking at what needs to be accom­plished on paper helps you get a better sense of timing and allows you to pri­or­i­tize tasks across categories.

Finally, take action where you can. Look at your respec­tive lists and see what can be done today. If you have three small per­sonal tasks, why not stay up an extra hour or two and finish them up? You’ll be lying in bed thinking about every­thing you have to do anyway, so you might as well be pro­duc­tive. Not to men­tion, the feeling of crossing some­thing off your list is sur­pris­ingly rewarding and one by one those tasks come off the list. Even though more will be added, it will pre­vent any­thing impor­tant from falling through the cracks. It won’t happen all in one day, but you’ll wield the lists slowly but surely.

Kristina is a full-​​time Market Research Project Man­ager in Philadel­phia and a full-​​time stu­dent at NU pur­suing a Master of Sci­ence in Orga­ni­za­tion and Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, with a con­cen­tra­tion in Lead­er­ship. Check out her LinkedIn pro­file here.   

Photo: sourced from rais​ing​su​perman​.com