I had a kind of mini panic attack this morning – the first in a long time. I had sat down at my desk because my son was taking his morning nap. My HabitRPG did not reset due to server issues on their end so I was inputting in my to-do list on Google Calendar instead. When going through my dissertation tasks for the day, I peeked into an old folder of scans and felt floored. There was so much information. I was wasting so much time! And I’m sooo hungry…I can’t concentrate! And god so tired, why isn’t my child sleeping through the night? Maybe I’ll…yes, I’ll do other things. And then I began to write Thank You cards for my son’s birthday presents…stopped midway, and began reading Reddit (even though I already skimmed all the front page posts). Then, why am I here?? Look for a Chrome app to block this site! BLOCK BLOCK. Aagghh. My heart was pounding and I started doing my old bad habit of rubbing my face with one finger out of stress (which had replaced pulling out my hair).
How did that happen? Because I was fine from 7am – 10am. What happened after 10am?
Problem 1: No clear use of time
7am-10am is automated and child-focused. Wash up, breakfast, feed and change baby. Play. Maybe get groceries. If baby is playing by himself, I will relax.
10am – 12pm is vague. Sometimes I’m doing household things. Sometimes my husband finishes early and takes over. Sometimes my son sleeps like, too well, and I don’t know what to do with the time. That sounds stupid because I am SO BUSY and behind on my dissertation but, the way I compartmentalize my life, it leaves room for insane stress in the afternoon (work time) and then over an hour of reddit’ing.
Problem 2: No clear agenda for the day
Not only is 10-12pm a floating dead time, but I had no plan set up for the dissertation. I was majorly overwhelmed and forgot to take it step by step, one by one.
Problem 3: No bravery (in planning an honest to god, hard as hell work plan).
I’ve been told that I need to have it done by May 29th, when my husband starts his new “program” at work and will no longer be available for child care. Instead of stepping up to the plate, I freaked out. Instead of facing that freak out, I ran away. Not literally but, I’ve stuck my head in the sand and just diddled away revising the same paragraph over and over. Yup, that would be “spinning my wheels instead of moving forward”which is exactly the self defeating bad habit that I vowed to conquer in 2015.
Problem 4: Confused priorities
Okay so I started a diet. This was something I wanted to take care of in 2015 and I began, as scheduled, with careful meal planning. Now counting calories, MyFitnessPal suggested I drop to about 1240 calories a day which is VERY LOW (note: it isn’t low for my short height, my age, and my sedentary life. It is insane though considering I had been eating 2000 calories or so a day for almost 2 years of pregnancy and breast feeding). Well, I jumped into it and small success made me so happy, I wanted to go at it 100%.
That is fine and all but my TOP priority to do is finish my damn dissertation. I cannot concentrate well because — to put it very simply — I’m starving. I’m distracted! I’m exhausted!
In short: I got overwhelmed. I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a backup plan for the non-plan. I didn’t ask for support. I didn’t stop and breath. I haven’t meditated in a few months so I’m out of the immediate habit of stopping, breathing, and focusing on the here and now, step by step.
I’ll probably need to think through the new habit chains I need to build. This will also probably change in May. But in general, the day should go like this:
7am – 12pm: family
-breakfast for all
-post breakfast clean up
-change clothes for self and baby
-pack afternoon snacks
-prep for dinner
-plan general schedule
-go grocery shopping/run errands
-read books with baby
12pm – 5pm: work
-write 750 words/day based on theme for the month
-bedtime for baby
-review day, plan next day
-read before bed (no phone)
Solution 2: Set agenda for the day before anything
This is something I normally do the night before. See what happens?
Solution 3: Be brave and move forward
Face the enemy head on. Clear out the brush/weeds before refining the garden.
Solution 4: Confused priorities
Compromise: choose the same breakfast and 2 snacks a day. Clean and prepare all snacks ahead of time to last me a week or more. Bump daily caloric intake to 1400 for 2 weeks. Reduce slightly after that.
And above all: Meditate
When things are feeling panicky, stop and walk away. Meditate for 10 counts.