The Noteworthy Conversation
Chapter Sixteen: Business as Usual
Bad days happen, and so do bad weeks, bad months, even bad years. Things happen that can absolutely devastate us, whether on a personal level, within our financial situations, on our professional paths, or throughout our larger communities. Catastrophes happen and then we are expected to show up, do our work, and remain focused on the task at hand. We mourn on our own time.
How can we go about business as usual when we see tragedies play out in our 24-hour news cycle?
How can we go about business as usual when our most basic human rights are at stake?
How can we go about business as usual when the rug is pulled out from under our feet and our world is turned upside down?
Human beings are not robots, and we cannot be expected to perform as such. When we are feeling drained or stretched to our limits, accomplishing the bare minimum can feel like we’re pushing maximum capacity. What we can normally get done in a couple of hours can drag on for days. Our usually sharp focus can go blurry and waning motivation can cause exhaustion to seep down into our very bones.
Rather than allowing ourselves to become numb or nihilistic, having grace with ourselves can get us through the rough patches, and allow us time to get back into fighting shape. Self-care doesn’t always look like a luxurious bubble bath and a facemask. Sometimes just acknowledging the struggle we’re in, that it’s not business as usual, is enough to make something seem less daunting.
With deadlines looming and responsibilities weighing heavily on our shoulders, slowing down for even a moment can seem laughably unattainable. However, by reprioritizing our commitments, we can trim the fat, and focus on what’s truly vital so we have time to recover. Sometimes we have to ask ourselves, what is the bare minimum we have to do to get through the day? We make that list, we do what we can, and then we rest. This is not slacking off, but rather, doing the best that we physically or mentally can manage at the time.
The Noteworthy Conversation itself is an example of a commitment that had to be reprioritized in a moment when overachieving was simply not an option. Noteworthy Communications has never missed a deadline for a client, but something had to give, and skipping a monthly blog post was something we were able to live with during a time that was not business as usual. Posting a month behind schedule seemed like a big sacrifice at the time, but now, a month and a day later, the conversation is back on track, and we even got a new blog post topic out of the experience.
On the other hand, sometimes throwing ourselves into our work might be just the solution we need. We can harness our feelings and channel them into something productive and positive. When everything else seems to be falling apart around us, we hold tighter to what we feel we can control. Still, even that is not actually business as usual.
Feeling overwhelmed is a part of life, and it will happen time and time again. Coping with the unexpected and the devastating might look different day to day, but pretending everything is business as usual and forcing ourselves to power through is almost a guarantee of a burnout or a breakdown. It’s not business as usual, and that’s exactly the point.