On Monday mornings, I write down things I need to do that week to advance my strategic initiatives and relationships. This usually helps me focus on important tasks and stay on track. However, that was not the case the last couple of weeks. I committed to writing a short article for the Faculty Herald, feeling it was very strategic to communicate with the faculty. Despite putting the article on my list of things to do, I didn’t write it.
When I agreed to write the article, we did not agree to a specific due date. Yet when the faculty editor contacted me about the article, I was embarrassed because I had not started it. To hold myself accountable, I gave him a date when he could expect the article. However, I then found myself procrastinating with every possible task instead of writing the article and also feeling quite anxious.
Coming to Temple has energized me, and I have been working with a sense of freedom and joy. So feeling anxious was both a surprise and unpleasant. In fact, writing about how I felt brings back the feeling, which is a deep sickening gut clenching that my family calls the “melting liver” syndrome.
Knowing that I didn’t want to remain anxious, I spent time reflecting to determine where the anxiety was coming from. I identified several sources, including concerns about my children, missing my family, and obligations in caring for my ailing mother-in-law. However, my ego was also showing up in full force as I experienced the fear of looking bad and feeling inadequate, which made me avoid writing the article.
To shift away from anxiety and procrastination, I reached out to my husband and we talked at length about what was driving the anxiety which helped a lot. It was a very safe and supportive conversation and we were able to come up with a plan to care for my mother-in-law.
Then, I dived into writing in a quiet and focused setting and didn’t let myself stop until I had a first draft. I slept on it and then did a second draft before I asked for review help. Fortunately, I have a talented communications person who is a terrific editor and she pitched in to give support and suggestions.
I also made sure that I continued daily meditation and exercise. I reached out to my family and reconnected and I went forward knowing that I would feel better as I propelled into action and met my commitment.
The article was completed and submitted to the editor by the due date. My anxiety has lifted, which is wonderful: freedom and joy have returned.
Anxiety cannot be avoided and often concerns from one part of your life spill into other parts of your life. If you are feeling anxious or procrastinating, take time to examine what is fueling the feeling, ask for help, and make an action plan.