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  • Writer's pictureTari Faris - Writer

Careful, Your "On Deadline" Brain is Showing

by Tari Faris, @FarisTari

The week I turned in my book I nearly lost my mind. It was my FIRST deadline. The first of many to come, I’m sure.

In the weeks leading up to it, I discovered that an “on-deadline” brain is a real thing—at least for me. Like pregnancy-brain only instead of being caused by hormones, it is caused by the fact that part of my cerebrum is always in a fictional world.

I burned dinners, missed appointments, and forgotten things someone told me just minutes after hearing it. I even forgot my husband’s birthday.

And even more than all this: I felt stressed. Super-duper-am-I-having-a-heart-attack kind of stressed.

Of course, we all have stress. And a deadline is stress. A good stress that keeps me moving forward.

But I have felt just overwhelmed by every little task that came my way. My to-do list had grown too big and was breading neurotic-unhelpful stress. Like worrying about getting old, the fact I don’t drink enough water, do I floss enough—no, how long will that washing machine last, am I doing enough at work, do my kids read enough, am I spending enough time with them . . . I could go on but hopefully, you can see the ridiculousness of it all.

I do need to concern myself with many of them: flossing, water consumption, time with my family and many of the others. But they shouldn’t cause the gut-churning stress that makes me feel deep down like I am failing. So, last week, as a wash of stressors tidal-waved over me, I decided to do something about it. I pulled out my sticky notes (because I love sticky notes), and I started adding one word to each note: Webpage, Novella, skin, teeth, water, strength. . . I also added my to-do list: Clean kitchen, vacuum, laundry. . .

Then I stuck them where I could see them. I prayed over them, tackled what I could when I could, and let them go. Okay, so it will take more than that. After all, taking care of my teeth will require more than praying over them. I will actually have to floss. But, by keeping the list in front of me, I can see the priorities, goals, or concerns that I want to focus on. Yet, I will tackle everything one day at a time with God’s strength.

In fact, this has helped so much I think I will keep the sticky notes posted where I can see them even after I turn in my book. Keeping those big goals in front of me remind me to pray over them and work toward them a little each day.

I even made another board where I can see what I have tackled. This helps me see that I am getting things done and I am moving forward even when I feel the title wave coming.

Have you experienced “on deadline” brain? How did you cope?

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