Washing Away Unnecessary Anxiety and Unwarranted Blame

I tossed and turned much of last night worrying that an email I sent to someone had been too critical. You know the feeling that starts just after you press the send button and immediately wish you hadn't? But this morning I found a genuinely appreciative email from the guy, thanking me for my unvarnished opinion! Also this morning, I got an email from a colleague I had been trying to reach but who hadn't been responsive to my call of several days ago. I figured I must … [Read more...]

Witness Your Cycle of Energy from Inaction to Action

Have you ever watched water boil? I mean, actually standing over the pot and watching. It really does boil, even when you watch it! If you do, here's what you'll see. Water Boiling is Like Your Own Energy First, teeny bubbles form at the bottom of the pot. The surface, though unbroken starts moving. Then, gradually, the bubbles grow and merge and rise, breaking the smooth surface until it's roiling and dancing and cratering. As the water boils, the bubbles break. … [Read more...]

May the New Year Bring You FLOW: Embrace Your Anxiety!

I woke up this morning full of dread. Or, more precisely, I was full of anxiety, which feels a bit like dread. The New Year has begun. The vacation days are over and the list of things to be done feels mountainous. Anxiety Stems from the Unknown Some of the items on that list are simple and I know how to do them. Some of them are big and complicated and I’m not sure how to do them or if they will succeed. Those are the projects that make me anxious. You probably … [Read more...]

See Something, Say Something?

On my way to Saint Mary’s Park at around 7 on Sunday morning, I had a troubling adventure. As I walked down a block on my usual route to the park, I looked up and saw 6 or 7 men walking toward me. Two or three were on the sidewalk and the others were walking in the street. As I continued toward them, I realized that two more men were entering the street from the playground behind me on my left heading toward the other men. The men paid me no attention. They were … [Read more...]

Are You REALLY Too Busy?

Does being busy make you feel important? Would it feel strange to tell people that you weren't too busy? I've been thinking about this a lot lately.  Shortly after I decided to stop saying "I'm sorry" to people (which, by the way, has made a huge difference in the way I think and act), I started to hear myself saying again and again, "I'm super busy." I've said it so many times that I actually believe it. But in reality, it's not true. I'm just not focused enough on … [Read more...]

On Race and Fear: The Power of Context

I've been reading the new, thought-provoking book, Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. It's a long letter that he wrote to his teenage son.  It's not easy reading, and I don't always understand what he has in mind. But this book has me thinking about race differently than I've ever thought about it before. Lack of Fear: An Unearned Privilege Coates comes back again and again to the effect of pervasive racism has on people of color. They, unlike people who … [Read more...]

Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall

As you may know, I'm super frustrated by my propensity to leave things unfinished. In last week's post, I came up with several ways to get things 100% done. But I left out the one strategy that has now gotten under my skin, and solidly planted itself in my brain. That's the strategy of simply getting stuff out without worrying whether it's done. You throw stuff against the wall to see if it's done, and cook it some more if it's not. Spaghetti on the Wall Years ago, … [Read more...]

Pushing Past Complexity to Discover Elegant Simplicity

I would not give a fig for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity. --Oliver Wendell Holmes Have you ever worked on a project that you thought was simple, but the more you worked on it, the more complicated and intertwined everything got? Did you worry that you were getting lost in a sea of ideas? But then, just when you were about to throw your hands up in frustration, you had a moment … [Read more...]

Handling Overwhelm, Staying Productive and Asking for Help

Clearly, I'm not alone in feeling overwhelmed. After my last post -- a cry for help in managing overwhelm -- many people got in touch with me. Through email, phone calls, Facebook and comments at the end of the post, I heard from many of you.  And I'm excited to share the things that have already made a big difference. Sanebox: A System for E-Sanity Melea Seward's suggestion of sanebox.com wins the prize! Sanebox is a remarkable app that looks at the patterns of your … [Read more...]

A Cry for Help – How Do You Manage Overwhelm?

I thought that if I got clearer and more disciplined about my goals, my life would get simpler. But no... That just opened another door on greater complexity. And once again, I feel like I'm drowning. Ideas get lost. Balls get dropped. And myriad little things gobble the time I should be spending on big projects. Is it Just Me? Or is it the times in which we live, where emails and obligations and people stream into your brain and calendar like a fire hose rather than … [Read more...]