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Impatient, broken and exhausted
Impatient, broken and exhausted

My frustration level was at around an 11 today. I got almost nothing done at work and I’ve got deadlines coming out my ears. The traffic this afternoon was a parking lot and now I’m trapped behind some meandering slow-walker pushing a shopping cart with a broken wheel. This is shaping up to be one of those days. The problem is I’ve been having a few too many of those, “one of those days” days lately.

My level of patience is usually a good barometer for how I’m dealing with stress. When simple things like sitting in a parking lot on the highway during rush hour or being trapped behind a meandering slow-walker start to upset me I know there’s usually some larger, underlying issue that I haven’t dealt with and needs to be addressed.

There is certain list of things I know I need to do to in order to help me manage my stress like, regular exercise, healthier diet, better sleep, not overworking myself, etc. but when things begin to pile up, like most people, I have a tendency to let the list slide. If it slides for too long it starts to show up in other places in my life, like today. For years I just sort of fit those things on my list around my work schedule. If I was too busy then I started to make compromises. If I wasn’t vigilante, work would slowly edge out the list until it was all work, no play. As a result, I wound up white knuckling my way through everyday life until I finished my deadlines. At that point I would attempt to hit the reset button but managing life that way eventually catches up with you, as it did with me. So last year I decided I needed to find a better strategy. Instead of working my personal life around my work schedule I decided to switch things around 180 degrees and it’s made all the difference.

My first priority is now physical and mental well being. I block out my days giving the same importance to self-care as I do to showing up for work. There is a balance now that exists and that balance includes limitations to how much time I’m willing to give up because as I get older I’ve realized that time is by far our most valued asset and once you give it up there is no reclaiming it. The most beautiful side effect to this new practice is that when I’m healthy, both mentally and physically, I have much more to offer to both my personal life and my job but best of all I’m no longer limping across the finish line at the end of my deadlines broken and exhausted.