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.