My mind is a complete blank. Prior to having this blog, on days like today, when my stress level is through the roof and the fear of what is to come is overwhelming, I would simply write words on paper. I would ramble through the voices in my head and get them out on paper. Seeing the words form is therapeutic for me; I have dubbed it, “free writing.” There is no structure or theme, just free words on paper. Sometimes, the words come out violently – a kind of verbal diarrhea. Other times, the words get stuck and come out in fragments. Today, the words are stuck – they are there, in my mind, but stuck in a chasm of fear and anxiety.
Why Fear? Why Anxiety? I am overwhelmed by the positive response I have received from this blog. Whether from LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, the comments I have received are encouraging. You like what I write and my stories resonate with so many of you (“you like me, you really like me“). You have given fuel to my purpose. But, the reality is that I am now fearful of how to keep you engaged. My stories are real and true; I will never make them up for the sake of writing every day. But, to grow this blog, I have committed to writing something every day. I’ve put pressure on myself to show that the Insta-perfect world is not the real world. The real world is full of struggle and unknown. It’s also filled with wonder and unlimited potential. Both are scary for their own reasons. Both have left me feeling stuck today. This definitely is not an Insta-worthy moment.
Working the plan. This time in history is unprecedented. We don’t know how to act or what to do much less be able to plan for the future. I am a planner. I look at a current situation, review past experiences, evaluate the possible outcomes and make plans. It’s what I do in life and what I do in business. Unfortunately, both of those things are on hold right now. So, I am stuck. Stuck unable to forecast and plan. Stuck in the abyss of the unknown. But, I did set up a plan when I was furloughed. A plan that involves writing every day, trying to help others that may not be able to put feelings into words. I am working the plan. Some days are better than others. The goal of the plan is to feel productive every day. It is easy to sit on the couch and wait for a phone call. It is easy to binge Netflix or Disney+ for hours on end. But, those things are not productive, and now more than ever, I need to feel productive. I need to continue working the plan.
Planning time off. Here’s the problem with my plan to be productive every day – when I am not productive, I feel worse about myself. Welcome to today. I was not productive yesterday. My furlough is scheduled to end on April 30, yesterday was the 23rd. I have another full scheduled week to go. I was overcome with the unknown. The desire for this all to come to an end. The need for my company to either tell me I can come back to work or I was done. Planning for downtime though is just as important as planning for productivity. When planning a project, I schedule downtime to allow for the unknown that will inevitably arise. This downtime allows me to meet my scheduled project deadline or, if I am lucky, deliver earlier than expected. The downtime allows time to reflect and experience the moment. But, unplanned downtime can drag you into the abyss of self loathing and self reflection. The moment becomes the only thing, and the moment can suck sometimes. Coming to grips with those feelings though can actually propel you forward. I’ve come to learn that time off is good. I went for a walk yesterday! A walk! In the middle of the day! The fresh, warm, Florida air was amazing. My head was clear, and I determined that it was ok to be unproductive for a day. It was ok to say, “I’m not ok today.”
What the hell is my point? After reading through this multiple times (the first draft was honestly just words like, “plan,” walk,” “what to do, what to do”), I realize that my point is that sometimes it is ok for us to not be ok. Sometimes, we need to feel the warm sunshine on the backs of our necks to clear our heads and removing the blocks in front of us. Allow ourselves to simply ramble along. Let the day take you where it wants. Trust that your plan can tolerate a few missed hours. I definitely do not recommend it as a lifestyle choice, but I do recommend it to clear your head so you can get back to being the person you want to be for your friends, family and yourself.
Thank you for allowing me to ramble today. Take time for yourself to ramble. And, let me know your rambling thoughts in the comments below. And, if you liked this post, please click the “like” button below, subscribe to my list and share with your friends.