Battling the deluge

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It’s a very hectic time right now in my office. I’m not entirely sure why, other than sheer workload overload.  We’re a small shop, handling the creative work that would keep a group twice our size quite busy. It’s not always easy to juggle all the moving parts, or keep all the plates spinning.

Like yesterday.  I had hoped to handle some e-mails quickly and then work on redesigning a postcard needed for a mailing that I’d hoped to send out a few weeks ago.  I did make headway on revision plans Friday, just needed to get them done.

But….no. Monday took over instead.  Had to drop nearly everything to work on detailed planning for an event next week that just landed on my calendar.  By 4:30, I knew the day was a wash.

Like today. I came in with plans to tackle Monday’s work then stab at Tuesday. But …. no.  A last minute request by a reporter to do a story on the college meant dropping everything to marshall human and print resources and media that she will need.  I picked up a couple dropped details from projects I was hoping to finish last week but didn’t make it.

This is the whirlwind-cycle of work that can really grind you down, deplete your soul.   It’s hard to say No to work because everything feels important and urgent, but I can’t be in two places at once.  I work better when I can focus, not when I’m getting pulled in 10 directions at once.

On the upside, being a small shop means I get to do 175 different things in any given week. (Literally. I’m not really exaggerating. lol)  I’ve always preferred a flexible, unexpected work environment to something that’s planned and codified. Leaving the classroom to join a marketing office made me give up some of the freshness of teaching, but today felt just like one of those teaching days where I ran from class to class without time for a breath or a bathroom break.

Except in teaching, the actual classroom moment felt like I was accomplishing something.  Today and yesterday, I basically sent and read thousands of words on email and made some phone calls.  Lame.

I need to find a better way to manage my working life.  Maybe I was just able to get away with it a little better in teaching – you had bits of downtime to catch up, or you just threw out the parts of the lesson plans that were overreaching. After all, an endpoint was coming — you’d finish a unit, give a test or project, and move on.

My current work doesn’t offer that kind of brick-wall deadline for many projects.  If I fail to finish last week’s copywriting, design, or project planning, it shows up in my docket this week.  And being creative people, we can always generate 10x more ideas than we have time to execute.

So….yeah.  Need to prioritize work differently.  Need to say no.  Need to find ways to be more efficient.  Need to balance efficiency with being human and having a soul.  (My favorite moments in the office are always conversational; finishing a project comes in behind that. lol)

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