Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Slow Down, You Move Too Fast!

I’m a Type A with ADD/OCD so I only function on two levels—Full speed ahead with Keurig on high and, I came in here to do something . . . oh look, David Bromstad is on HGTV! When I set my focus, nothing gets in my way, not time, not outside distractions, and lately, not inside distractions . . . until this week. Sometimes it takes a natural disaster to get my attention when I’m running in high gear.

I’d be a fabulous juggler if I didn’t have an issue with cross-dominance (my right brain never knows what the left is doing). I can get one, two, three, four, six, twelve projects in the air and keep them all spinning at a ferocious speed. But once in a while, that first ball slips . . . look out below.

I was juggling furiously going into last week, building a Haunted Open House (1,155 visitors scared!!!) that kept me at the keyboard 18 hours straight one day and ten the next, updating my website, writing two articles, three of my own blogs, guest posting on four others, outlining the next topic in my GETTING IT OUT THERE: PR and Social Media for Writers series, typing my way through hours of dictation at my 9-to-5, and hardly taking any time to stand up and stretch (except for a quick trip to see Three Musketeers). Then on Thursday, I got an ache between my shoulder blades. (Nothing unusual, just pop a few Motrins).

I’d moved my laptop down to a lift up table in my living room to take advantage of the natural light, spread out all my paperwork, and so I could glance over to watch American Horror Story. By bedtime, I could hardly move my head. I couldn’t sleep. By mid-afternoon Friday, it felt like one of the characters had stepped from FX to stab me repeatedly in the neck and shoulders. When I lay down for the night, I couldn’t roll over. I worried I might be having a heart attack. I tried Flexeril, then Vicoden (they’d been in my medicine cabinet for three year after taking one for a back spasm), nothing helped. I spent the weekend computer-free, icing/heating and trying not to move. By Monday, I was planning to go to the doctor but after two days of no typing (well, maybe just a few words…) it was a manageable ache. I was able to sleep for most of the night with four Motrin every four hours.

I work in a law office that deals with work comp. I know all about repetitive stress and related injuries. So I started researching. Yesterday, I did an ergonomic study of my home and work environment. If it had been toxic, I would have been glowing in the dark!

I’m a professional here, and I was overlooking the obvious. I would never treat my car as neglectfully as I was myself, and I know I’m not alone. Life has a way of slapping you upside the head (or between the shoulder blades) to get your attention. The last time was when a computer crash forced me to take time off. I can be so oblivious. Must be the ADD.

Sometimes it takes forced rehab time to wake you up and make you come to terms with workaholic or control addictions (that volunteer ‘Yes I Can’ syndrome!). I sat back (very slowly and carefully) and weighed options to reduce my stress load. I pushed back deadlines to a comfortable distance, let a couple of opportunities go in favor of less work-intensive alternatives. I’m making some adjustments in my environment to be kinder and gentler to my aging chassis.

What have you done for yourself lately?

Next Tuesday’s Tech and Tips blog will feature what I culled from this experience with ways to prevent and/or treat work stress and strain. If you sit behind a desk for a living or at a laptop for fun or profit, this one’s for you.

Has it been four hours? Pass the Motrin . . .

On a happier note, my Haunted Open House was a huge success (1,155 guests!!!). Su, the Lean Mean Green Secret Agent Machine won the Costume contest and I’m coming up with an appropriate award that will involve a free book and probably chocolate.

And if you were thinking of asking me to write an article, do a blog, help with your project, ask away. It might just take me a little longer to get to it. Is tomorrow soon enough?


  1. Oh Nancy, I so-o-o envy your ability to get it all done. You have so much to show for your efforts. But do take care of yourself too.

    All the best, Annette

  2. Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Do slow down. Your books are great, your articles enlightening. More importantly, your friendship is treasured. Take care of yourself. You're the only one who can.