Finding that balance

Gotta climb it — but where to start?

So, this is interesting. I had two full days to get a lot done, but that backfired on me. I got almost nothing done that I intended to, including a couple of Very Important Tasks that I need to have completed by next weekend, which will set the stage for how things turn out in the coming months. I had planned to spend a lot of time on them over the weekend, and really dig in. I was really looking forward to it, too. But as it turned out, I ended up spending most of Saturday doing errands for the house and sleeping… and I spent most of the day yesterday helping my spouse get ready for their upcoming business trip, as well as going to see a double-feature movie with some friends last night.

It’s good that I took time for myself, got some rest, and saw friends. I don’t do enough of that, as it is. But the things I needed to do, were things I really needed to do, and they didn’t happen. That’s not good.

A combination of things got me in trouble.

  • First, looking back, I was way too optimistic about how much time I would have over the weekend. Seriously, I needed to rest. A lot. I push myself so hard during my weeks, it’s quite unrealistic of me to think I’ll keep up that pace during the weekend.
  • Second, I gave myself way too much time to do the different things I was planning. I tend to think that having a long stretch of uninterrupted time is going to help me focus in and get the job done. But in fact, having a big block of time overwhelms me, and then I end up doing a million other things — big and small — because I think, “I have enough time to do the important things later. I just need to warm myself up.” The thing about “warming myself up” is that I tend to wear myself out, in the process.
  • Third, I had too long a list of things to do. And the things on the list were too big, to begin with. I didn’t just pick a few pieces of those critical things I needed to get done and focus on them. I put the whole honkin’ beasts on the list. It was like being a near-sighted rock climber who’s looking at a massive wall of rock with no visible foot- or hand-holds. There was no way I was going anywhere.
  • Fourth, I am incredibly nervous about this next stage of my projects, and I just got freaked out… and ran away.
  • Fifth, I isolated. I didn’t communicate with anyone on my project(s). I just kind of disappeared. I just couldn’t deal, so I didn’t.

Looking back, I’m very disappointed with myself. I did some healthy things right this weekend — and to be honest I really felt great. But I also floundered around a bit, and I’m coming out of the whole experience feeling like I’ve failed. Fact of the matter is, I did get good rest over the weekend, and I did take good care of myself in a non-work way. But I didn’t live up to my promise(s) to myself, and that really bothers me.

The problem wasn’t what happened – it was what I expected to happen. It’s what I promised myself — that I could not deliver. I bit off too much, and then just spit it all out and (metaphorically) went fishing. What else could I do? I had set myself up to fail, even before I began.

I think that rather than setting myself up for failure, one weekend after another, I need to have a better plan. I need my Saturdays and Sundays to catch up with myself and my home and my marriage — I need my weekends OFF. That way, I can rest and rejuvenate and get myself back to where I want to be on Monday. There are ample hours in the week to take care of the things I need to do — and the one project-related thing I did right over the weekend, was to reschedule some of my work for the next three days, when I’m flying solo and I have the house to myself and am not distracted by domestic demands.

I also need to be more realistic about what I’ll want to do on my weekends. Yes, I can tell myself I’m going to do this or that, but when push comes to shove, my heart often isn’t in it. By Fridays, I am pretty wiped out, to tell the truth, and my reasoning abilities are starting to lag behind how I am on Mondays. I have a bad habit of loading up on all kinds of planning on Thursdays and Fridays, which blocks out my weekend and fills it up with “must-do’s” as though I have no life at all. It’s a pattern that I need to get out of. And now that I’m aware of it, I can do just that.

So, what’s next?

  • List out the critical things I need to do this coming week, break them down into little pieces, and then take them just One At A Time.
  • If I find myself going beyond my allotted time, I need to stop myself and take a break. I instinctively push myself time and again, because I am getting tired and I don’t realize it. The break that I take can be rest, or it can be doing something else. But I need to break the momentum.
  • I also need to be easy on myself and realize the good that I did for myself this weekend. Life happens. I needed to sleep, and also to be social. I need a well-rounded life, not a constant grind. And that’s what I had this weekend. Not bad, really. Not bad at all.
  • Last — and not least — I need to get out of my head and just get on with things. Too much time on my hands opens my mind to all sorts of distractions, and when I get thinking about things too much, then I end up stuck in my head, which is never good.

And now the week is waiting, along with everything I’m setting out to do.


The benefit of good information – and the hazards of the other stuff

I’ve been following the blogging flap about “Head Games”, a documentary about concussions that’s been generating some controversy amongst those who write and are concerned about concussions in American sport.  ‘Coming to a Theater Near You: The Football Concussion Crisis Documentaries’ is the latest from Irv Muchnick, and his blog, Concussion, Inc. has some great info about his line of inquiry.

When it comes to concussion and TBI, there are a huge number of people who have lots of “free” information to dispense — for a price. That price is the promotion of their techniques or apparatus or gear or some other widget or gadget or concoction that’s promised to aid in the “fight against the concussion epidemic”.

While I am a big fan of more information, and I am a huge fan of the book “Head Games” by Chris Nowinsky (I own the book and have recommended it often), I am also a big fan of not having conflicts of interest in the case of concussions/tbi. When someone comes up with a product or a service that can be billed to an institution like a school or a league, or it can be purchased for relatively little money by the general public… and there’s lots of money involved… all sorts of klieg light klaxon alarms go off in my head… and things get, well, interesting.

Especially when it comes to self-styled documentaries that are funded by people with vested interests in a certain field. I can think of some very popular public “health experts” who appear regularly on television to promote their own points of view — supposedly objectively. They make their own rules, and they hawk their own ideas as “revolutionary breakthroughs” all the while refusing to submit to peer review or have any other sort of quality control outside the “echo chamber” of their own practices.

I can also think of a number of “entrepreneurs” who have created “documentaries” that promote their particular brand of transformation or self-improvement. The feature length film “The Secret” comes to mind – it was basically an extended infomercial for a number of get-rich-quick or self-help gurus who appeared on screen long enough to pose the “attracting abundance” questions they promised to answer, stir up a lot of enthusiasm for their ideas, and then disappear, only to be easily found online later, when intrigued viewers googled them, credit card in hand for the $49.95 eBook or the $129.99 eCourse.

One of the “experts” in The Secret was James Arthur Ray, the self-help guru who was arrested and convicted of three counts of negligent homicide in connection with a “sweat lodge” he was leading a few years back. Another one of the “experts” was Joe Vitale, who has promised for years to teach his students how to write hypnotic copy (e.g., trick people into giving your their money), and who now appears on his website wearing some sort of beads and promising miracles.

Now, I’m not saying Chris Nowinsky and Alan Schwartz and company are cut from the same cloth as the folks behind “The Secret” — I am simply likening them in their methods, in that they are very much in a position to fund and control the message they are sending out —  which is apparently also directly tied to the King-Devick sideline concussion test, which is being underwritten by Chicago billionaire music and technology entrepreneur Steve Devick. When someone names a “groundbreaking product” after themself, I have to wonder…

People involved in the “Head Games” film project have protested that they are not influenced at all by the connections, and the official word is that the underwriters have absolutely no creative control.

But buyer beware. There are lots of connections that bear closer scrutiny, regardless of the protestations of those involved. And hats off to Irv Muchnick for not taking those protestations at face value and digging deeper.

When it comes to concussion and traumatic brain injury, few are as vulnerable as those impacted. Few are as desperate to try just about anything to get better — or help their loved one get better. And few are as willing to lay down cold cash find a way to address and overcome the conditions that can arise from concussion/tbi. Having such an eager and available audience (er, market) is enough to make your head spin. Let’s hope that’s not the case with “Head Games”.

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