Come Back Later

Thursday sucked.

As it goes with most projects, you hit a patch where a handful of problems creep up on you at once. Some can be avoided, while others are just circumstance. Earlier this week, as the saying goes: when it rained, it poured. A combination of tiny mistakes amassed into a larger, soul-crushing ball. The day ended stressful, with tomorrow looking no better.

On Friday morning, though, I made a decision. When I woke up, my goal was to keep moving on the project that had pushed me to the edge on Thursday. I was anxious and not looking forward to it, but with a looming deadline I knew I had to get it done. Then, something happened. I stopped myself. I realized that yes, while the project did need to get done, it was going to be far less productive to waste the day a nervous wreck. After looking at my todo list, I decided that it was best to walk away and focus on something else.

This was one of the best decisions I’ve made in awhile. Instead of wasting time and energy being stressed out, I walked away from the trouble project. I left it and removed it from my thinking. I called it quits, but just for the day. The result? Friday ended up being incredibly productive, seeing a lot of other work on my plate getting completed. Even better, that productivity—and good mood—followed into the weekend, leading to even more getting done.

Now, I can start the week on the trouble project fresh. I’m happy, feeling positive, and ready to revisit some of the issues I ran into last week. The best part? A handful of smaller projects that were looming on my mind have been crossed of my list. Instead of fighting myself and wasting time, simply walking away from the problems for a little bit allowed me to focus on the other things on my mind. Because I wasn’t looking at those projects with a negative eye, all of my energy was spent on making them as successful as possible.

The lesson is clear: when in doubt or when you’re stressed, walk away. Whether something at work or in your personal life, it helps to remove yourself from the situation. Not only does it help to relieve stress, it helps you to avoid wasting time and effort that can be better spent on other things. By the time you reset, chances are that the problems you saw are quick fixes, or at least, not as dramatic as you thought.