I kept staring at my calendar, trying to convince myself I could do it…and everything else I had committed to. Finally, after 3 days of feeling guilty for not being able to cross everything off the list everyday, I just told myself the truth: There was no way on earth the PowerPoint was going to be ready on time.
I kind of felt like a jerk. It was due — teetering on past due — and I was just sitting there staring at my laptop. S#it. The more guilty and overwhelmed I felt, the more I seemed to be paralyzed to just get it done. I found myself engaging in random acts of procrastination (like in the pic above), just to distract myself from the overwhelm.
I had a surprisingly surprising revelation: What if I just told the truth?
I decided to email the woman I owed the PowerPoint to and just say what’s so. It went something like this:
I’m realizing that I’ve overextended myself this week, and got behind on everything. I’m learning the lesson to give myself much more space for projects from now on! May I submit a PowerPoint to you one day late? I’d like to have one, but it’s still in the works. Please let me know. I understand you’re working with your own deadlines, and I appreciate you considering this.
:: exhale ::
It worked. She was totally fine with it, and I was able to get on with doing what needed to get done. I guess the truth really does set you free.
Struggling with a deadline? Don’t actually want to go on that coffee date? Just say what’s so.
How to have it feel good for everyone:
* Don’t blame anything outside of yourself. Your desires and your choices are leading here.
* Be gracious, and apologize for the potential impact on them. Don’t make it all about you.
* Don’t ramble. Just get to the point.
* Share what you’re learning and will implement going forward.
* Thank them for hearing you, and for their willingness to consider.
* State your clear intentions. Do you really plan to call them next month? Don’t create a new mess you’ll have to clean up later.
* Don’t be a robot. Being overly professional or polished in your language to a friend is just weird.
* Be professional when it’s called for. Business contacts don’t want to be spoken to like your BFF.
* Contact them before the meeting or deadline, because contacting them after sucks.
I love this. I often find myself overextending myself and I never quite know how to just say so without feeling guilty. Thanks for the example of the email that you sent!!!
Love this… so true. I’ve had to remind myself… it’s harder to clean up messes afterwards, than to just suck it up, be honest, and deal with the situation with integrity. Also love this adorable pic… great hoses 😉
Love this! There’s so much freedom that comes when you listen to what you need and make requests from that space. I especially appreciate your “don’t ramble” reminder. That was my pitfall–I used to feel the need to over explain myself and apologize profusely. Your email example is so well put!
All very important points Nisha….
We live in a world (at least the Western one) where our completion of “tasks” and “to-do’s” on our to-do lists gives us “satisfaction”, and the rewards we are so programmed to seek embed our every cell, yet, rarely, what we do in a given day actually RE-SETS our nervous system, our cells, so as to prepare us for our next task of creativity —- hence all the procrastination in our world…(my opinion).
I want to share a little excerpt from an upcoming doc called “Seriously” (it is one of my mentors speaking about our “to-do” lists and the need for this re-set.
Worth the watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7x7EYWCQbVc
(from beautiful Kitsilano, Vancouver, BC,)
Yes ! And be truthful to yourself (and others). No need to lie or make up
excuses. Overextended yourself? Just admit it! No bullshit, no whining, stand tall and tell (and own) the truth.