The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Week

by Kory McDow

The Backdrop

This week has been one of the tougher weeks in my life. As a hus­band, father, and entre­pre­neur, I found that I was fail­ing at every sin­gle one of these areas. Mind you, my wife, daugh­ter, and clients might’ve have said oth­er­wise, but I felt like I was drown­ing and I couldn’t see, let alone grab, any metaphor­i­cal pre­servers that might have been tossed my way.

My wife hurt her back over the week­end and was left fairly immo­bile dur­ing the begin­ning part of the week. Under most cir­cum­stances, I would be atten­tive to her needs and help her on the road to recov­ery. Instead, I was angry that she hurt her back and wasn’t able to help around the house.

I know. Dick move.

My daugh­ter, who has recently been more affec­tion­ate, was look­ing for me to be present with her since Mama was unable. I’d play games with her and read her sto­ries. Okay, let’s be hon­est. I’d move pieces around and rush through the stories.

I know. Dick move.

I had two web devel­op­ment projects to com­plete this week. I com­pleted the first project and pre­sented it to the client on Monday. In my rush to ensure the project was deliv­ered by when I said it would be ready, I rushed through test­ing and ended up deliv­er­ing an incom­plete project. My other client received an email response say­ing I’ll get to it when I can.

I know. Dick move.

What these three sce­nar­ios have in com­mon is that I was stressed, over­whelmed, and in need of more time. Because I was try­ing to focus on every­thing at the same time, I ended up focus­ing on noth­ing. I wasn’t present in the three main roles that guide my life.

The Lesson

I had a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one impor­tant in my life and he reminded me that we can only do what we can do. I think of him often in these sit­u­a­tions where I’m feel­ing out of bal­ance because we’ve had pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tions about main­tain­ing bal­ance as some­one man­ag­ing mul­ti­ple roles. Needless to say, I real­ized that this week was the per­fect storm that demon­strated per­fectly this les­son I keep on learn­ing, or rather, need­ing to learn.


The only way for me to be both effi­cient and effec­tive is to be present in the moment. It’s also about man­ag­ing those moments so they don’t bump into each other. Should be easy, right?

Moving Forward

If only it were that easy. I do know that I have to do (there is no try), no mat­ter the dif­fi­culty. What that looks, sounds, and feels like is this:

1. Fridays off. I need Fridays off in order to de-stress, cre­ate, recover, plan, etc. This should have mul­ti­ple results. I can con­tinue to work on the sys­tems I’m devel­op­ing to man­age life bet­ter, I’ll be more pro­duc­tive when work­ing on client work dur­ing the other four days of the week, and I can take time to just be.

I’ve been tak­ing some Fridays off for some time now, but have been check­ing work email and would find myself in the mid­dle of a project won­der­ing where the day went. Plus, I don’t under­stand how work­ing 5 days and play­ing 2 is any sort of bal­ance. Working 4 and play­ing 3 seems a lit­tle more even to me. Does it to you?

2. Being present. This is fairly self-explanatory, but I’m includ­ing it here more as a reminder for me than shar­ing with you. Some of the great­est moments in the past few years have hap­pened when I’ve stopped to notice the beauty around me. It’s in the eyes of my wife when she comes home and sees me wash­ing dishes (I hate wash­ing dishes). It’s in the words of my daugh­ter when she repeats some­thing funny over and over again mak­ing me laugh hys­ter­i­cally. It’s in the emails from my clients when they say I’ve gone above and beyond what they were expecting.

3. Schedules and Systems. I’ve been a fan of sys­tems ever since I can remem­ber. I love both struc­ture and flex­i­bil­ity. And in order to main­tain the bal­ance I need, I have to incor­po­rate both. What does that mean? I’ll be work­ing on sys­tems for every­thing from check­ing work email to clean­ing the house (yes, we’re an equal oppor­tu­nity house­hold). I’ll also be using a sched­ule to more accu­rately pin down when I’m doing what, not to the point of per­fec­tion, but to the point of clarity.


I have a feel­ing the above three items will serve me well. Hopefully, I’ll look back on this arti­cle in a few weeks and see the results. But for now, I think I’ll get started work­ing on these things today…

A Friday.