Embracing Imperfection, or the Mondayest Wednesday ever
I have been off from my day job for a week. As I write this, I am trying to talk myself off the ledge. As I sat here trying to embrace the last few hours of quiet peace that comes from getting away from the daily grind, my mind started to panic over how much work was waiting for me tomorrow.
As the only non-medical person in our group, I am tasked with every conceivable administrative duty, large and small. Scrubbing charts for billing, payroll, scheduling, contracting, working with recruiters – you name it and it lands on my desk. When I take time off, I work like a crazed woman beforehand to clean up everything I can beforehand. While I am gone, it silently builds up and when I return, I am usually slammed with a mountain of work, every task needing immediate attention.
I try to tell myself, hey, it took a week to pile up. You will not clear that pile of work in a day. But at the same time, I am my own harshest task master. And the beatings will continue until morale improves! I can usually find my desk under the pile by the end of the first day back. Sometimes it takes two days. But at what price?
I can only do that if I don’t get a million of the usual interruptions. Also coming in early, leaving late and working through lunch helps. There is often swearing.
The high expectations and perfection I expect from myself have a price. My warm fuzzy I’ve-been-off-for-a-week-while-the-rest-of-the-world-slaved-away feeling usually disappears by oh, 9am! I realize my problem stems from a need to always appear to have it all together where my day job is concerned. I hate feeling like I am missing something! And when the work is piled up after an absence, I just feel like I am chasing my tail!
Add to this, the other side projects and classes I mentioned last week, and my stress levels rise before I finish my morning coffee! (This despite the fact that my “vacation” was 7 days when I focused on my class work and didn’t actually allow myself the luxury of reading for fun or playing with my sewing machine!)
The funny thing is that it isn’t my bosses that make me feel this way. They are great and tell me to not worry about the backlog, just do what I can. It’s all me and the expectatoins I put in myself. (I can forgive anyone their faults, but myself!)
I will talk myself off the ledge as I have in years past. I will remind myself how much further along in my class I am. I will remind myself that I have already scheduled in time for myself to finish up that last textbook project one weekend in September without having it take away from my daily work or class time. I will remind myself that I am one person and can only do so much.
The most important thing to remember when we find ourselves completely freaked by the amount of work staring at us is that we are human and we must forgive ourselves for only having 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. We cannot be afraid to ask others to allot us the same understanding and to allow us to prioritize tasks. We will get to everything, but maybe not in the same timeframe that others want. We are allowed to breathe. And if we allow ourselves ten minutes to eat something yummy and healthy in the middle of it all, it will only improve our performance and our outlook.
It’s all good. (And a glass of chilled Riesling helps! At the end of the day, of course!) 😊