Q: Dave, with the economy going wacko, the market down and my personal life in a shambles, I’ve no place to turn and am scared about the future. I realize this is a bit far from your usual tech questions, but where do I go, what can I do? I can’t even be productive any more, I don’t even want to get out of bed. I sleep, I let dishes pile up, the house is a disaster AND I know that it feeds on itself too. Ugh!
It is an alarming moment in our society and the roller coaster ride of the stock market is freaking out a lot of people. I know my portfolio has dropped in value so precipitously that I have consciously stopped checking it as I know it’s going to make me get more depressed.
Fortunately, though, I have some really great friends who are always ready with an encouraging word, a helping hand, or a good hug. In fact, one of them recently copied me on an inspiring message she’d sent a mutual friend and, with her kind permission, I reproduce it here to inspire you too:
Here are my first thoughts to get creative juices flowing. Several are non-business and may seem trivial to some, but, I’ve been there; when it’s all you can do some days to just eat, pee and breathe when you feel like @ss, every “little” thing around that even hints at “to do” feels like a bull whip or five beating on you.
First, I hereby give you permission to take today off; there is absolutely nothing that can be done today that will make or break anything. Veg. Sit. Listen. Cry. Pamper. Meditate. Yell. Rest. Watch. Sleep. Do bumpkis. Step away from the computer world until tomorrow morning. I can hear a “But… but… but…”. But nothing. Don’t make me come down there to get all mom on your “but”.
Second; blow off the housework and cleaning. If you get it done, fine, if not *shrugs*. Who cares. It’s not the end of the world. My suggestion for the dishes: get a box or three, put all of your kitchen dishes/pot in them except for ONE plate, ONE bowl, ONE fork, ONE spoon, ONE knife (the good one that can both cut and spread), ONE glass, ONE pot, ONE pan, ONE cutting board and ONE chopping knife. Put the boxes in the garage or storage. This way, dishes don’t pile up until you’ve used them all, and if you need something, you only have ONE to wash – and don’t have to wade through a whole sink full to get to it.
If keeping the home running all tickity-boo is something that is really important to you, then make a weekly schedule; water plants on Monday. Laundry on Tuesday. Vacuum on Wednesday. Dust on Thursday. Shop on Saturday. Prep on Sunday. Why? Because then in your mind, it’s taken care of; there is a schedule, you know it will be done and it won’t be nagging at you.
Third; prep food once a week (hence the “prep” reference on Sunday above). What I used to do (and frankly, really need to start again) was to just set aside time on Sundays to do nothing but chop. I’m assuming that a lot of what you need to do is eat non-processed food, and that can suck because one red pepper and one zucchini needed for a recipe… you need to get out the knife, the board chop then clean up… blech. Fresh veggies can double the time it takes to cook.
I’d set myself up in the living room, turn on a movie or the TV and chop all my veggies for the week and keep them in containers so all I’d have to do from then on was grab and go. Yes, it could take me 2 hours (OK, sometimes I’d get engrossed in what I was watching so that I’d have to stop chopping lest I lop off a finger or two), but the actual joy of getting up in the morning, knowing that all I had to do was grab a few things from the fridge, throw them in a pan with some olive oil, crack an egg or two on it and voila – gourmet omelet in the morning pretty much in the same amount of time it takes to make cereal, AND 2 of the 5 to 10 servings of veggies the doctor is probably hounding you about. (Gah… I’m only doing this with my salad these days – this is giving me incentive to restart. Thanks ;). ) You can pre-make a pot of rice (brown, right? Hmmm? :p) too so that you can quickly just roast some veggies and throw them on a microwaved base of rice.
OK – that’s “all” I can write before getting some coffee. I know the above isn’t the be-all or end-all – but hope it’s a start to even spark something in others.
Now turn off the computer for today, young man