Life interrupts. In fact, it is full of chaos and unpredictable circumstances that constantly threaten to capsize our lives, goals, and routines. I have been dealing with some major chaos during the past month but I’ve also accomplished the following things:
- Created a new website and business (work in progress)
- Written 3 new poem drafts
- Sorted and revised previous ones
- Drafted a writer’s retreat course
- Attracted 400 new twitter followers
- Blogged regularly
Today, I’m going to distill 30 days of pure chaos into 5 tips for managing your goals as you navigate life’s interruptions but first, let me paint a picture for you.
- I was let go from a part-time job because the owner decided he no longer wanted to pay for my position. Unfortunately, he took the low road and made me feel dehumanized and unappreciated. My workload was absorbed by his 2 other employees, already stressed and overloaded. But what does he care? I was nobody to him except disposable “staff” used to bolster his bottom line.
- My boyfriend and I invited a new roommate to live with us. She pulled a real Jekyll and Hyde on us. She was great for the 1st 3 weeks, and then she turned into an aggressive, manipulative, vampiric thief. I’m not saying this because I am bitter. I am saying this because it’s true. But. I’m also bitter because it’s true. It’s so true that we had to take all of our valuables to storage, deal with neighbors and landlords over her, and finally kick her out 3 days before she was supposed to leave anyway, after a midnight visit to the magistrate. This was after I found about $200 of my possessions strewn about her room, in her closet, on her desk. I had already stopped talking to her by this time but luckily, my boyfriend remained coherent enough to get her to “mutually agree” to leave the house the following morning by basically bribing her with her deposit in cash. The shit list is so very long and disgusting that I’ll spare you. Needless, to say, I have cause to issue a warrant for her arrest if I desire. But the sheer emotional turmoil that a malevolent person like this causes far outweighs petty crime. Our homes should be shelters and sacred spaces where we are safe. This person was one of the most malevolent people I’ve ever met and she was living in my house. Let me say it again: she was living in my house.
- And finally, my 88 year old grandmother blacked out on the front porch, fell down the stairs, and injured herself. She’s still in rehab and slated to come back home on August 6th.
Barring real tragedy, rebel creators just don’t stop.
- Sleep. I’m really not one to go without sleep. In fact, I’m a rather talented sleeper. That talent came in handy here, as I made sure to support myself with extra sleep, sometimes sleeping in and not feeling guilty about it.
- Prayer or meditation. When I worked in my office (which is right across the hall from the former bedroom of she-who-shall-be-named), I closed the door and prayed a lot. Usually, before working. This helped me focus on the tasks at hand.
- Yoga. But not just any yoga. Restorative yoga. This is a yoga class where I simply and deeply rested. There is a musician that plays bells and drums while the teacher often sings with her guitar. This effectively took me out of a stress response and into a relaxation one. This is something I take very seriously. Evidence clearly shows that the relaxation response is key for health, wellbeing, and productivity.
- Focus on learning. When I felt too stressed to work, I read something I’d been meaning to, watched a video, or made notes. This felt more gentle and passive. I now have a lot of notes that I can capitalize on in the future.
- Take breaks. I wrote about my vacation here. I remember at the start of the event, I was so demoralized and angry about my home situation, I thought I would spend the entire time crying in my tent. But boredom set in and prodded me up and out, where I worked on sensing my blessings, even in the midst of chaos.