The inspiration for this post has come from the realization that I have not posted on here for almost 5 weeks! I cannot be a hypocrite and claim I “have not had the time,” since I have written a post on this very excuse. I will admit that I have had the time but 4AM has simply not been a priority. Yes, I am embarrassed to admit.
The past few weeks have been filled with various lessons and realizations from the events I had prioritized over writing for 4AM. The one lesson I had learned was in the area of patience.
I have had various job responsibilities over the past few weeks that made me feel like I was living extended work weeks. In reality, I had probably been putting in an average amount of work time, but something made this time feel more consuming and more stressful than previous weeks.
Have I had more tasks to accomplish? Yes. Have I been spending less time at home? Yes. But, were these the true culprits of my angst?
I concluded although things have been a bit busier for me in recent weeks, the tasks themselves have not been the cause of my anxieties. Conversely, I have been the cause, not the events themselves.
We all have times in our lives where some weeks are more chaotic than others, but how we perceive these events is truly what determines our emotional state, not the event itself.
For myself, I recognized that it was not the increase in tasks or the extra driving or the additional money required of me over the past few weeks. It was a problem of my own perception of expectation vs. reality.
I expected these tasks to move along quickly with little additional time, effort or money being spend in the interim. Instead, a transaction that I expected to be completed over the weekend, for example, took 3 weeks to finally see completion, with additional time, effort and money required along the way. Of course, this had been a great disappointment to me, since the reality of the situation did not come close to what I had been expecting all along. My constant dwelling on the frustration of having this transaction constantly delayed was the cause of this anxiety.
Now, was it the actual incomplete task that had caused this anxiety? Was it the parties involved that had caused me to feel a consistent urge to look at my phone and email in hopes we could get a response to close the transaction more quickly?
The only thing or person causing this anxiety was me. In theory, we all have the ability to respond to the urge to check phone or email, for example, but in the moment, such control had gone out the window and full submission to the impulse had commenced.
This inability to react and appropriately respond to these tasks then would lead to another anxiety about being on my phone around my family and loved ones, and the vicious cycle continues.
The big learning lesson here is preventing this cycle or being able to break it through a change in our behavior when reacting to a given event.
Big picture, I had been rushing myself to complete this transaction, when in reality, the nature of the situation would have taken 3 weeks regardless of the way I had responded to it. I could have waited an additional hour to check my phone and emails. I could have waiting for the next day to respond to an inquiry. I could have shut off my phone for an entire day, and this transaction would have taken 3 weeks.
This was a big learning lesson of patience for me. I had been so consumed with wanting to finish quickly as possible, I was distracted from what was really important to me. I realized no one is expecting an immediate response from me, as I would not expect from them. I realized trying to get things done quicker and expecting tasks to be moving faster will only result in anxious behavior.
I hope this lesson of patience will serve me going forward when responding to tasks and time management.
When you feel yourself becoming anxious about a task, do not blame the task itself, but question what the true cause of your anxiety is? The bad news is, it’s most likely you. But, the good news it, it’s most likely you. You have the power to react to your circumstance. Take responsibility so you can take control and change it.