Stress List

Well, it’s the end of the year, and like 2016, I think we should burn 2017 and watch the ashes blow away in the wind.

2016 was an awful year for me personally, but 2017 was a terrible year politically and culturally. This new administration has shown itself to be particularly cruel and lacking empathy (not to mention unqualified); I can’t tell you how much this ether influenced my writing this year.

But this post in not about the people running the country (#resist, #ImStillWithHer). This post about a better approach to 2018.

I was so moved by Carolee’s post and her Poetry Action Plan (PAP), that I really wanted to make mine count. So, before I post my list, I want to review two aspects of this year as I look forward to the New Year: 1) what stresses me out, and 2) what I did well. Today I’ll focus on the first.

What Stresses Me Out
I tend to make the same mistakes with my time. Too much of it spent on social media, watching TV, cleaning my house, etc., but not enough time writing. Sadly, it’s so routine it’s turned into a habit. Self-sabotage. I used to have mantras that would keep me going, but even my little motivating phrases weren't enough to push me to do the things I didn’t want to do. So I made a Stress List (read: what stresses me out!). It’s purposely narrowed to work-related items that keep me unmotivated and unproductive.

My Stress List
  1. Grading. What teacher doesn’t wish the papers would grade themselves? This semester, I just couldn’t keep up. But that’s bad planning on my part. I must put butt in chair and finish when I say I’m going to finish. 
  2. Not completing tasks when I say I’m going to complete them. I’m not being realistic about completing projects. Sometimes I overpromise and underdeliver. And I take on more than I can handle. Must. Stop. Doing. That. 
  3. Saying yes instead of no. I’m getting better at turning down projects I don't want to do, but still not quite there yet. 
  4. Stressing out about stressing out. I spend more time thinking about what I need to do rather than doing the thing—and THAT REALLY STRESSES ME OUT. Seriously, it keeps me up at night.

With this list, I can break down each numbered point and get specific about what tasks are stressors. I won’t post those. But this will give you the framework under which I seek to fix—which will ultimately become part of my PAP.

There are personal habits I need to reestablish: Writing a to-do list at night, exercising, reading a half-hour before bed, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and getting up early to write. Those things will come. The Stress List, however, is a good accounting of the root problems holding me back, and a road map to what I need to address in 2018.

Next up: A Brag List, or what I did well in 2018.


Carolee said…
thanks for the mention. it's your own love/inspiration coming back at you. <3

i also love how you're breaking down the process. i spent much of the fall/holidays being honest about what bad habits are holding me back. isn't that always step #1? here's to 2018 & blogs, blogs, blogs!
Your stress list could be *my* stress list... I know these well. ("Not grading is ten times worse than actually grading, Self!") This is so helpful.

(And thank you for blogging again!)
Lissa Clouser said…
I love that you wrote a stress list. I think I may need to do this soon. Maybe by acknowledging our stresses rather than just stressing out about them (oh my goodness, me too, stressing about stress is ridiculous), we can slowly take a step toward overcoming them. Right? I hope so! Best of luck to you in the new year!

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