"I can't wait for it to be over!" When I was younger I heard this from my mom all the time. I always wondered why one would say such a thing. The moments that couldn't pass soon enough was birthday parties or the best day of a kids life, Christmas! Why in the world would you want this exciting day to come and go like a runaway train?
Now, that I am grown, with children of my own (now grown as well) with a couple of businesses, I too say "I can't wait until its over!" What has happened to me? I now sound like my mom and millions across the world.
I have discovered that preparation and anticipation can be truly stressful, cause anxiety and can be very overwhelming. As a kid I excitedly waited for the outcome and the big day. Not realizing what went into making that big day come into fruition. Lately, I have given this a lot of thought because I became so worked up getting ready for appearances, speaking engagements and events. So let's jump right into what I discovered and learned.
What is preparation? Preparation is getting something(s) done to get ready for an event or presentation. This can take days, months and even years depending on how big the project. Planning, waiting, collecting, emailing, gathering, are just few of the grueling tasks that involves preparation. Now, lord forbid if you are a perfectionist! You know, that person that has to have everything done to a tee, where everything has to be exceptionally great! Well, if you are that person you can double or triple your stress level. I am very familiar with this person, I've been told a time or two that I am a perfectionist. I guess that is why I can write this blog in hopes of helping you with the stress of it all.
Know matter how well you prepare you won't know how it will all come together. You won't know what the outcome will be. You won't know if all of what you prepared for will go as planned. That my friends is the little devil on your shoulder call anticipation. The idea of not knowing can be equally taxing.
Not knowing what others will think of your creation. Will they get the message you are trying to deliver? Will they be as excited as you are? Will you be accepted? The anticipation worry list can go on and on. So by now you are wondering how does one conquer the stress of these troublesome two.
1. Don't wait until the last minute. Don't get me wrong, you can have all the time in the world and still feel stressed. However, having enough time will be one less thing to worry about.
2. Don't give yourself too much time. I have learned to allow enough time for the task at hand. Why give too much thought for something that is a year or months away especially if it only takes a couple of weeks to complete. Know your capabilities and that will tell you how much time to allow. If you tend to be a bit slower at completing a task factor that in. If you are one who doesn't stop until its done type of person factor that in. Once you figure out your time capabilities you now know when to start preparing. If you start preparing too early you maybe adding unnecessary stress.
3. Don't overthink and don't overdue. Deal with the situation at hand. Make a task list starting with biggest task first. Deal with the biggest task that will require most of your time. Be sure to check the biggest task off the list. It's a great feeling when it gets closer to your due date and the "big" stuff is out the way.
4. Delegate. This is something that I am working on personally. I am known to be a one woman show. Ask for help if you need help! Sometimes you just can't do it all by yourself. The list we spoke of can now be delegated to those who want to see you succeed.
5. Know when enough is enough. You've check the list once, you've check the list 500 times. You are constantly looking over the task list to see if you missed anything. It's great to be prepared but constantly going over the list, you know you have mastered will only increase your anxiety level. Also, ask someone to help you finalize so you can wrap it up physically and mentally. Know when you are done and move on to the next exciting venture. Don't let your perfecting ways get the best of you.
6. Don't look into the future. That is what we do when we anticipate. You won't know until the day of event, presentation or unveiling . You won't know if it is going to rain or shine until that well anticipated day. You won't know if everything will go as plan, so why spend so much time thinking about what you won't know. Remember that you are fully prepared for whatever comes your way. Now, for those of you who have a crystal ball, have at it.
Conclusion: Giving yourself time when preparing. Know that you're done and move on. Now that you are fully prepared, you can take on whatever comes your way on the big day. Don't allow stress to takeover something that was meant to bring you and others joy and happiness. If your anxiety level is at an all time high, stop, pick up the pieces and remember that you are prepared.