Stress and Getting Stuff Done

Dealing with stress–or whenever possible, reducing it–is a big part of my life as someone with Adrenal Fatigue. It’s one of the main causes–when our adrenal glands become too overworked due to stress, they stop functioning optimally, leaving us tired all the time for no reason. Even people who don’t have Adrenal Fatigue will often find themselves tired after a day of putting out more fires than usual.

Even Isis gets stressed out, though no one knows why!

Even Isis gets stressed out, though no one knows why!

Stress, and the fatigue it can bring on, is often a reason we don’t accomplish as much as we’d like. But these past couple of weeks, I’ve found the opposite to be true as well: not being able to get things done can make us stressed.

This became apparent to me in my day job recently. Normally, I like my job, but lately it’s become a real drag to the point that I almost dreaded going to the office. It’s not the workplace–I’m blessed to work with and for nice people, in a comfortable environment. But for weeks, I was stuck on both of the software development projects I’m working on. On one, I was stumped by a particularly tough bug fix. On the other, I was having problems with the software I needed to use not working properly. Then, last week I had a breakthrough on the bug fix. It’s still not done, but I’ve been making progress, whereas before, I was getting nowhere. And then I was finally able to get some tech support from the product vendor of the problematic software. With help, I got that working and have been moving along on that project.

Since then, my fatigue has been better (for the most part–I still have tired days, and am not as energetic as I was before A.F.). I realized it was because I was no longer stressed about my job. And that stress hadn’t come from worry that my inability to get anything done would have consequences–my supervisors on both projects were well aware of my problems and understood–but it was the simple fact that I was stuck and not moving forward.

We humans feel much better when we get stuff done, and have that sense of accomplishment. So having something on my to-do list that I know I’ll be able to check off is now an important part of my stress reduction plan.

Of course I always find time to read! That’s a big stress reducer too.

smithsmonthly 11What I read this week: Smith’s Monthly #11, including the novel The High Edge by Dean Wesley Smith. I am now a year behind in these LOL. He writes them faster than I read! Well, he does because I read other things, too. As always, this one had some enjoyable short stories in it, plus a novel set in his Seeder’s Universe, which features a post-apocalyptic earth and the spacefaring humans who are trying to save and help what’s left of Earth’s population. Enjoyable, easy read and good for that stress reduction!

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: Things are moving slowly on the novella, and I finally figured out why: I over-outlined it. As an outliner, having a plan in place to give me a story map helps me keep on task and moving forward. I tried a process outlined in Monica Leonelle’s Write Better, Faster (an excellent book, with tons of helpful info) that includes sketching in the scenes before I write, but that turned out to be too much for me. I either have to toss what I sketched out, or fill in the details, transitions, descriptions, etc. and that’s making it not as much fun. Hence, more difficult to get to the computer and more slow going once I’m there. I will push through and finish this, but will stick with my simple, one or two sentence outline per scene for the next book. This week, I only got one scene drafted. Next week, I want to shoot for at least three, preferably more.

What about you–do you find it stressful when you can’t seem to get anything done? How did you overcome that? Have you read any good books lately? And whether or not you’re participating in ROW80, how are you doing on whatever goals you might have? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.

10 Responses to \

  1. Stress is awful. It comes on so suddenly and sticks around for so long that it almost becomes a habit, addictive (at least for me!). Years ago I went to a naturopath, who helped get my adrenal glands back in working order. And I take a vitamin B stress compound every single day. It helps me. 🙂 Exercise is super for alleviating stress and meditation works too. But everyone is different. What works for one person isn’t necessarily the best remedy for all. Hope you have a stress-free week, Jennette!

  2. Over-outlined? Isn’t that the same as just writing? Any attempt at outlining would give me stress. I just want to write the book. That’s the fun part. Outlining sounds like…work! And work=stress. At least it does to me. 🙂

    Hope you have fun at work this week. Then you won’t be stressed at all.

  3. Sometimes when I’m really stressed I get a lot of work done. I put a lot of pressure on myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other until everything is done. Other days, stress prevents me from getting anything done because all I think about is how much I’m not getting done. I’m equally tired either way.

    I think I’m the only person who puts a lot of stress on myself. I’m sort of a perfectionist and so, I have only myself to blame.

    We all need to take a lesson from Elsa and just “let it go.”

    Have a great week.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  4. Learning to deal with stress or not allowing myself to get stressed seems to be one of my life’s lesson.

    I’ve heard there is such a thing as over outlining a book, that it can become a form of procrastination to actually writing. I’ve tried pantsing and I’ve tried outlining, I think I like outlining better.

    Here’s to your outlining coming to a close and your writing flowing like water through leaves, feeling the words and nothing stopping them from landing on the page.

  5. Sheila, so true! I take tons of vitamins and supplements, prescribed by a hormone therapy clinic. It helps, but not as much as I’d like. I do need to get back into some kind of exercise routine.

    Stacy, the sketching in was pretty much writing the story – that’s why I’m bored now! Won’t do it that way again – just having a sentence or two is good for me.

    Patricia, I think a lot of people are perfectionists and put too much stress on themselves. Recognizing it and stopping ourselves is the trick.

    Morgan, outlining helps me a lot, as long as it’s no more than a few sentences. Thanks!

  6. I have an entire portion of my writing process that specifically plans for the “not doing anything” stress. I have come to learn that it is often an indication that my brain just needs time to think and process and “chew its cud” (I know, gross). When yhat happens, there’s really nothing else for it but to relax, breathe, and “feed” my brain so the Girls in the Basement can do their work.

    It’s okay to slow down, especially if you are working on tough or critical scenes. They naturally take a bit more effort, as with tough code bugs. 🙂 you are still doing good work.

  7. I find being stuck or not getting any writing done really stressful, actually. I need to write or I start to feel restless and agitated.

    I just finished reading “Corsets and Clockwork,” a steampunk-romance short story collection. There were some really good stories in there, so if you like steampunk I’d recommend it.

    Have a good week, Jennette!

  8. “We humans feel much better when we get stuff done” … so very true! Today I seem to be spinning my wheels, but we all have days like that. I have what I call Butterfly Syndrome. I flit from one thing to the next to the next. I think I best push through and get one thing done at a time. There is that wonderful feeling when one checks off an item from her To Do list. All the best with your scene drafting. TTFN

  9. Athena, my problem with taking a break is knowing when I need to let something “process” and when I am just procrastinating. Thanks!

    Denise, me too! And that book sounds good. Thanks!

    Steph, I can so relate to “butterfly syndrome” – what a great term! I hate when I’m like that. Much prefer one thing at a time, but sometimes it’s tough to focus.

  10. Hey girl, sorry it took me so long to get my butt over here this week. Can you say, stress? Yep, I know how you feel. And you know I also have low adrenal problems and I’m forever grateful that my doctor put me on an adrenal supplement to support my adrenals. I don’t know where I’d be without it. Yet, it’s hard to find the balance. And frustrating when you fall behind in your life. So it’s always a game of fall behind and catch up. Glad you’re feeling better. But be careful. Get plenty of rest. Once those adrenals wear down, they don’t always bounce back. Take good care my dear friend! ((Hugs)) 🙂