Stress Levels Rise as Blogging Frequency Falls

Something I’ve noticed.

You may have noticed that my blogging activity has dropped off again. There are two reasons for this:

  • I’ve tried three times to write a blog entry and all three times the text is moving off on a tangent that leads to a dead end. I’m blocked.
  • I’m working against three deadlines, only one of which is self-imposed, to get a bunch of stuff done. I can’t seem to work as quickly as I used to.

Whatever the reason, I’m blogging less and feeling more stressed. Some people might argue that those two things are not related, but I think they are, at least in part.

When I start my day with a blog post, as I did each day last week, I feel good about myself and ready to start the day. Maybe it’s because I’ve managed to produce something at the very start of my day, before most folks are even awake. Maybe it’s because it sets the pace of my day to get more done. Maybe it’s because writing in my blog often helps get things off my chest or out of my head, stored in a safe place so I can clear them from my mind. In any case, blogging helps me to think and to work better.

What’s on My Mind

This week I’ve got a ton on my mind.

My company was mentioned in Arizona Highways magazine and that has led to a dramatic increase in calls for my flying services. In the past two weeks, I’ve sold three 6-day excursions and have at least two other people seriously considering it. If this pace keeps up, I’ll be flying two to three excursions a month during the spring and autumn months. While this is a great thing, it also brings on a lot of stress — making reservations, worrying about customer satisfaction, thinking about weather and helicopter maintenance issues — the list goes on and on.

This stress is only complicated by the fact that I’m working on a book revision that I need to have done by mid-May. While the software I’m writing about isn’t technically even in beta yet, it’s pretty stable. But there are a few features that simply don’t work. I don’t have access to the bug reporter, where I normally contribute to the company’s efforts to identify and squash bugs, so I don’t know if they are aware of the little problems I’m seeing. And, in the back of my mind, is the possibility that the software’s interface might change. I’m 5 chapters into a 24 chapter book right now — a book rich with thousands of screen shots — and if there’s a major interface change tomorrow or next week or as I’m wrapping up, I’ll have to do the whole revision all over again. How’s that for a stressful thought?

And why do I need the book done by mid-May? That’s another stressful situation. I’ve been contracted for cherry drying in Washington State this summer. Unfortunately, I haven’t been given a start date yet. It’ll take me a week to get the helicopter up to Seattle for its annual inspection, come home to get my truck and trailer, and drive back up there to my contract starting point. But I don’t have any details about where or when I’ll begin work. I could theoretically get a call next week — while I’m on one of my excursions — telling me to report in on May 5. I’d have to scramble hard to make that happen.

Related to this is my need to fill at least one seat on the flight from the Phoenix area to the Seattle area. It’s about a 10 hour flight and the cost of such a flight is enormous. I need a couple of passengers or a helicopter pilot interested in building time to bring in some revenue for the flight. Trouble is, it’s hard to get the word out, few people who hear about it understand what an incredible opportunity the flight is, and those people who do want to go simply don’t have that kind of money. My summer profitability depends, in part, on covering my costs for the ferry flight with revenue.

And on top of all this is the video project from hell, which I prefer not to discuss here until it has been resolved.

So you can see why my mind might not be tuned in properly for blogging.

Taking it One Day at a Time

I know that the best way to work through this stressful time is to take one day at a time and get as much done as possible. My main motivation is peace of mind. The more things I complete, the fewer things I’ll have on my mind to stress me out. While some thing are out of my control — will they change the user interface of the software? will I be called to Washington before mid May? — others aren’t. I just need to plug away at them until I get them taken care of.

And I need to blog every morning. It sure does feel better when I do.

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