Stephanie Burgis
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That same old feeling...
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Ah, that feeling of being hopelessly overwhelmed. My old friend... What is it that makes this feeling so powerful? Lots of people I've been talking to recently have been feeling the same way: too much to do, can't possibly get it all done, oh God I'll never catch up, God I suck...! (ad nauseum)

This only sometimes has anything to do with the truth. Usually it's just an overwhelming feeling of being overwhelmed. It can happen to me even when the things that I'm behind on are as minor as returning a much-loved friend's emails (well, not that that's minor, but you know what I mean, I hope) or sending a catch-up letter to a relative. The problem is, there are always an infinite number of things I could productively be doing - which means that, not having an infinite amount of time and energy, I will never get it all done. Today, I've been trying to remember that time-management advice I got a long time ago: figure out the 10 most important things you have to do today. Then figure out the top 3 out of those. Those are the 3 that you have to do. If you've done them, you've done your job. Stop. Breathe.

Today (after getting back from work at the day job) I critiqued a couple of short pieces for a friend (and they were fun to read, so it was no chore!), did final edits to my story "Ivy and Thorn" for its publication in GrendelSong next month, and revised my alternate-history fantasy story "The Five Days of Justice Merriwell". My immediate feeling, on completing these three things, is: oh God, I still haven't done any historical research for CoS today, there's that other novel I'm supposed to be critiquing and haven't even touched yet, I still haven't even started filling in the bracketed bits in CoS with the research I have already done, I'll never get it all done, I'm such a slacker, I suck...


Done. Stop. Breathe.

I have to keep learning this lesson over and over again, it seems: to have reasonable expectations for myself, and fulfill them, rather than kicking myself for not being able to do absolutely everything.

I keep hoping that someday I'll hit some kind of beautifully karmic state where I just remember that all the time...

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