Do you ever wake up feeling overwhelmed with what the day, the week, or the month has in store for you? Or maybe you wake up with great intentions, ready to take on the world and start a new day, but by the time you get home from work, the energy is gone and the intentions have gone along with it. Your goal has changed from doing something productive to becoming one with the couch, trying to ignore the nagging voice that you “should” be doing more.
Or maybe that’s just me.
There is an approach you may not have considered:
change your job.
Let me clarify, I want you to change your job, not your employment.
What is your job?
My job is a pain management NP and a Nurse Coach/business owner.
What are your other jobs?
I am a mom, a wife, a sister, an aunt, a friend, and an in-law. These all come with their own set of responsibilities.
I am a homeowner, the accountant for our family (lol), the benefits coordinator, the cleaning lady.
I am involved in professional communities and on the Board of Directors for ASPMN and ACPA.
I am the manager of my own health and wellness.
These are some of my jobs. Of course I don’t do them in isolation, I have people surrounding me who help with many of these things (although I do want to hire a cleaning lady).
How does this help you combat overwhelm and exhaustion? If you listed your own jobs, you may feel worse.
Hang in there, this is like cleaning out a closet: it looks much worse before it looks better.
I am suggesting that instead of having all these “jobs”, you take on the job of project manager.
Become a project manager for your own recovery and thriving.
Become the project manager of your life.
Let this be your one main job and all the others will get easier.
Here’s the thing, nurses are already project managers. Each day at work is a project, looking at the whole picture, prioritizing, managing the nuances of patient care. We already have the skills needed, we just need to apply them to ourselves.
Now before you start making to-do lists and planning a day of crazy running around, let’s zoom out a little bit. This is about managing with a bigger goal in mind, not just task accomplishment.
Zoom out and look at your life,
look at your jobs.
Look at them with a discerning eye.
Look at your life through a nursing lens (not a judgy lens, judgment doesn’t get things done OR make you feel better).
Zoom out. If your life is the project, what is the overall goal you are trying to accomplish?
This is a big question, one that you may not have thought about before. Spend a minute with it. We can’t design a plan for the project if we don’t know what the goal is. It’s basically a values question and there isn’t a right or wrong answer.
What is the overall goal you have for your project?
Maybe some of these would fit the bill.
I want to have meaningful relationships with my family and friends.
I want to make a difference in people’s lives.
I want to feel strong and healthy.
I want to have peace in my day to day.
I want to learn and grow.
It’s amazing how much clarity can be gained just by identifying the goals of the project.
Now that you have your goals, let’s focus on the fact that this is a project, a life project that is long-term; it’s not going to be done today or tomorrow.
We are in for the long haul (hopefully).
If this is the case, let’s go back to managing today. Here is the power question:
what can make today meaningful?
If you were a project manager running a team, would you schedule out their time with all the things, all day long, without a break until they go to bed? Would you expect them to master all parts of the project immediately? Would you berate them and minimize their efforts if everything wasn’t done perfectly the first time? Would you constantly tell them they aren’t doing enough?
You wouldn’t if you wanted to keep your team,
and the team is necessary for the outcomes of the project.
No, you would work systematically forward, you would understand the needs of your team, you could be calm, knowing that with appropriate time, rest, brainstorming, and patience, you could make progress.
This is what I am proposing we do with our own lives.
What would make today meaningful?
Which part of your plan are you working on? You can’t be in 2 patient rooms at once and yet you figure out how to care for both. You care for one, you prioritize and then you move to the next.
Do one thing that aligns with your values. This is a very effective way to silence the “should” voice in your head.
Allow yourself to discard or delegate the things that aren’t as crucial. It’s ok to not run all the errands after work. It’s ok to serve frozen pizza for dinner if the priority for that day was having some peace. It’s ok to put something off (or discard it altogether) if it doesn’t make the priority list.
Not everything is a priority.
I’m not going to worry if I prioritze seeing my sister over cleaning my house because relationships are a goal.
I’m not going to worry if I decide that cleaning my house will give me peace and so I am going to choose that over exercise.
I’m not going to worry if I prioritize exercise over grocery shopping. Frozen pizza it is!
I’m not going to worry if I prioritize grocery shopping over working on my business because I want healthy food.
I’m not going to worry if I prioritize my business over going out with friends because I want to make a difference in people’s lives.
All the things that are important can get done because I am MANAGING it… with intention. It allows me to say no to the things that don’t hit my priority list and yes to the things that do.
As you can see above, even within the list of things that are important to me, I may move forward on some at the cost of staying in the same place with the others. JUST LIKE WE ALREADY DO AT WORK.
It’s all ok.
We can manage if we take a minute to zoom out and look at the big picture.
Being a project manager for your life is fun. Having a sense of control is better than overwhelm any day.
And silencing the inner critic is priceless.
P.S. Give yourself the gift of feeling better. It’s ok to make this a priority. Just imagine the impact that feeling better would have on the rest of your life 🙂. Schedule a call here.