In gangham-style gung-ho, I trooped into my office the other day bold as brass knowing precisely which tasks I was going to do, in what time frames and in what ways.
Ten minutes in, the computer crashed, my emails were inaccessible, and even text messaging was not working properly.
For 3 hours, I tried to figure it out, watching the clock tick, knowing my schedule was being thrown completely out of whack. And yet, not one bead of sweat crossed my forehead, even though I had some significant, financially rewarding tasks to finish off.
I know myself well enough to know that getting into a state of anxiety and frustration only exacerbates the situation and makes those things I’m falling behind on seem that much more daunting. And you know that too, don’t you?
So, instead of allowing myself to go there in the first place, I simply shut off the voice that was screaming “holy crap” and replaced it with one that said “I know I can handle this (and worse) … and what are some other options here”.
Systems “kind of” got back up and running later in the day. Instead of trying to catch up 3 hours in the following 2 hours, I simply started where I would have been if all had been running smoothly. I rescheduled the morning tasks to the next day, notified all those concerned and tweaked some minor bits.
Action – What causes you to get anxious or frustrated when technology fails? What story do you tell yourself? How do you take things “personally” (which is the root of much of our work-related anxiety or frustration)? What are your other options?
The more you understand the story in your head, the more you can control it and, therefore, control your physical and/or emotional responses to it.
It is worth taking a few moments right now to ask yourself those questions so that when you sense the bubbles of anxiety or frustration rising up, you may be better able to pop them.