Tag Archives: stress

The definition of busy

13th February 2012

Life in the agency world moves a million miles an hour. OK make that a bazillion. There are few days I spend more than a few hours at my desk and without my two monitors and mobile phone, I don’t know how I could juggle all of my open projects. You could say things around here keep you a bit busy.

Last week, I challenged myself to rid the word busy from my vocabulary.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself stressing more about what I have to get done than actually tackling the projects in front of me with a smile on my face. The negativity leaves me dreading tasks rather than excited at the challenge. The truth is we are all busy, but what I’ve come to realize is we all have a different definition of the word busy.

A coworker and I had a discussion about this topic a few weeks ago while out for an afternoon run and came to the conclusion that you are really only as busy as you want to be. You can always make time for the projects you want to work on, the afternoon runs and the quick conversations that mean the most.

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.”  – Marcus Aurelius

After cutting the word (and a few others) from my vocabulary and focusing on what I could accomplish and how to get there, I found myself not only a lot more productive, but also more positive and less exhausted at the end of each day.

Clearly just cutting a word from my vocabulary isn’t going to force action, but luckily, there are quite a few tools out there to help you along the way.

  • Wunderlist – I keep note of all of my ongoing projects and tasks with this desktop app
  • Evernote – How did anyone keep track of multiple notebooks before this one? My favorite extension – seamless sync across devices. This means even my grocery list ends up here as I think of things throughout the week
  • A good old fashioned technology break – I know, crazy. Sometimes I am the most productive when taking a break from work. Trying eating lunch outside for 15 minutes this week, it will change your outlook, promise

There are some days that can’t be helped. Sometimes you just need to vent and sometimes there really are not enough hours in the day, but what I’ve realized is talking, thinking or stressing will not to accomplish any of it. Guess what? Next week I’m going to learn a whole new definition of busy, so what better way to prepare than to avoid the thought of it all together.


26th October 2011

Working at a digital agency as a millennial who also has a slight obsession with technology, it would be an understatement to say I’m “always on.”

Naturally, it’s rare to find me without some sort of device in hand. So where did I decide to book my vacation this fall? The backwoods of the Rocky Mountains.

Yes, the scenery is breathtaking. Yes, I love to hike. But my number one deciding factor? There is zero cell service in the Rocky Mountains (In case you were curious, this also applies to zero plug-ins and zero hair dryers), in two words bliss and anxiety.

Days before my trip I found myself stressed at what I might miss…I won’t be able to check email, I won’t be able to check-in to my camp site, and I won’t be able to Tweet a picture of the bear that I’m certain to encounter.

Have I become so engrained in technology that simply the thought of not having it for three days might tempt to ruin my trip? It certainly had me thinking, how can we really unplug? Sure I leave the office at a decent hour, but I never truly let go.

We all know recovery is essential. It’s what keeps us going, what refreshes us and what ultimately makes us push harder and do our best work, so why is it so difficult to allow ourselves to partake in? I wouldn’t run 10 miles 7 days a week preparing for a half marathon, why do the same in my digital life?

Welp, long story short, I survived (though I did encounter a rather large moose during a hail storm). Making my way back to reality, I felt more refreshed than ever and tackling my massive inbox was almost enjoyable.

Will I be able to unplug every evening and every weekend? Absolutely not, that’s not the career path I’ve chosen for myself. Does it mean I need to answer every email, text and Tweet minutes after delivery? Absolutely not. Guess what, when I returned home, my computer didn’t explode, my coworkers didn’t go crazy and my clients did just fine.

I’ll always have to be “on” but taking a day, or even an evening off simply means it will be there in the morning  and that’s the really cool thing about digital, it doesn’t self destruct.

Oh, and the scenery wasn’t too shabby either.