How to control worry and focus on what needs to get done?
January 19, 2009 5:05 AM Subscribe
How do you stop worrying so you can work? When you start to freak out with worry, how do you stop?
posted by anonymous to human relations (19 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
With a big deadline looming at work, I have found myself getting so overwhelmed by worry that I can't think straight and therefore can't work. I have to take a walk to stop internally freaking out ("oh my god oh my god oh my god").
I mostly worry I won't finish in time. I also worry that outsiders will find a mistake in the report or the method. I feel responsible for the reputation of the entire group. This is a long-term project, so I worry people will think "he worked on this for how long and still, this part isn't perfect?"
I particularly am having trouble making a final "to do" list, because as I think about certain loose ends, I get really critical of myself for not having finished them yet. They are 99.9% done, but that 0.1% gap seems hard to close. There are only one or two steps for each, but I have trouble thinking about them because I get derailed into thinking "oh my god, Important Step B is not 100.0% done, what have I been doing with my time, how could I be so stupid, someone else should be in charge of this project, am I even going to finish this?"
But when I am calm, things seem manageable. I can get myself organized to finish things up on time. I can list the Important Steps and the few "to do" items that would close that 0.1% for each of them, and it's a realistic amount of work to do. I can also see that, in reality, the project will never be perfect. There will always be ways that others could improve upon the work, and that's just the way these projects are.
Do you have any tricks to help me shift back into being calm and productive when I get into that freaked out state? This is a fairly new thing for me (well, I can see hints of it in some procrastination in college, and it's gotten worse around deadline times over the past few years), so I don't have good tricks yet. What works for you?