The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Week
by Kory McDow
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.
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?
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…