Get Out!

I hit the wall yesterday afternoon. I was sitting at my desk “working,” but not really getting anything done. And then I started to slip into the pit, that black hole in my brain that’s a spiral of negative thoughts (I blame it on too much writing, turns me into a navel-gazing idiot after awhile).

I saw it coming. It’s noted there in my calendar around noon: “getting bogged down… losing focus…” [FYI: you can learn why I make such notes in my time management workshop.] But did I get up and do something else to interrupt that downward spiral? Did I use any of my uppers?  Heck no. I was there to work and by golly I was going to Get Things Done.

There’s discipline and then there’s stupidity. Nothing would have served my work better than taking a break. I’m self-employed; I’m my own boss; I can do that. And eventually I did, thanks to an irresistibly sunny afternoon (after a cooler-than-average spring, warm weather has arrived at last in Portland – yea!). I took my husband’s bike to the shop for repairs, and the dog to the park for some exercise, and visited my parents to see how the new coat of paint transformed their basement family room (the terra cotta proved to be an excellent color choice). Within a couple hours (rather less time than I wasted slogging through stuff at my desk), I was feeling better – much less crazy, and much more myself again.

Lessons learned:

  • Next time, I will listen to my wise self the moment it suggests I take a break.
  • Next time, I will break up writing tasks and intersperse them with other activities throughout my day.
  • Next time, I will plan regular outings into my schedule – even if it’s just to take my laptop to a coffee house and work someplace other than my desk.

Stop. Just stop. Don’t fight yourself. Get away. Get outside. Go interact with real live people. Pay attention to your inner voice. Plan ahead. Escape the isolation of self-employment before it even starts to get to you.

* * * * * * * * * *

How do you avoid the isolation of working alone?
Do you take breaks when you need them? Does that improve your workflow? and/or the quality of your work?

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2 Responses to “Get Out!”


  1. 1 Anticorrosive June 19, 2008 at 5:22 am

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation :) Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Anticorrosive


  1. 1 More on Practice « How THW Gets In Gear Trackback on May 16, 2008 at 7:47 am

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from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]

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