As I enter the lovely month of May, I am aware that it will be a manic month filled with mayhem and madness. There is so much to be done and I know that I risk becoming overwhelmed and stressed because of it. So, I’ve decided to embrace May’s madness from the start because I manage better when I know I’m entering a mentally challenging time.
Because I know that May will be crazy, I am preparing for the chaos. I am setting myself goals and determining ways to reward myself for reaching milestones along the way. And, importantly, I am incorporating ME time into the mix.
Most of May’s madness will be PhD-related. Thesis writing, to be more precise. I have a lot of words to get down on paper and I am running short of time. And that means I am starting to get stressed out a bit.
Now, I don’t know about others, but when I know I have something to work on (my thesis in this case) I get really stressed when I’m not productive. And then I feel stressed that I fell behind one day. And that means that I spend the next day worried about that day’s tasks as well as the unmet tasks from the day before. And then when I try to do something not related to the “big thing” I feel anxious which means my “relaxing time” and my sleep time is spent feeling uneasy and stressed. And that means that I don’t relax and I don’t sleep well. And that adds to my stress and decreases my productivity further.
This cycle continues until I am not able to work or to relax. And it all goes downhill from there.
The irrational side of my brain says to just muddle through until I’m done.
The rational side of my brain, however, realises that muddling through with so much stress will kill me.
And so, I am entering May’s madness with a plan to keep the crazy at bay.
To do this, I will be spending time each day relaxing. I will prioritise quality sleep over stressed sleep. I will ensure that my mental, physical, and emotional health is given top priority.
I will work smarter. I will give myself manageable and reasonable goals for productivity. And I will give myself rewards for meeting or exceeding those goals. And if I don’t manage a goal one day, I will not let it ruin my goals for the next day: Each day will be a blank slate!
Part of this “work smarter” plan will mean that I keep going after I meet a goal… but only until I am no longer feeling positive about my productivity or until an hour before bedtime. That means that if I hit my goal at 4pm but I am feeling energized, I can keep working until it has become a chore or until 9pm (I go to bed at 10). However, if I have not hit my goal, but I feel the task is a chore, I must keep going until 9pm. (Meeting the goal is the first priority but my set finish and bed times need to be kept.)
If I manage May’s madness as I hope, I will be extremely productive. I will also be feeling well-rested, well-nourished, and well-cared for. So, here’s hoping!
And with Day One over, I am pleased to say that I managed to write more words than my target goal and that I completed my slides for tomorrow’s presentation before my 9pm end time. I also managed to eat a healthy lunch (and an adequately healthy dinner) and I enjoyed a relaxing shower before settling down to watch television for 30 minutes. However, I did fail in my aim of going to bed at 10pm. But that’s because I wanted to get this posted and so that I could sleep soundly…
(And because of my haste in publishing this, I am sure I will be making edits in the next few days. But that’s allowed!)
So, welcome to May! And may the madness be less manic than imagined!