I struggle with varying degrees of anxiety (some could call it perfectionism) in all areas of my life. Work (obviously) is one of the most important areas where I worry about failing and, at the same time, succeeding. Weird, right? Well, not entirely. I find on Mondays, I’m high-strung and going at 1,000 mph trying to accomplish tasks at work and at home. By Wednesday I’ve finally relaxed a little to where I’m completing tasks calmly and more efficiently, but I’m still hyper-focused on what I’m trying to accomplish. And by the time Friday rolls around, I’m hovering somewhere between burned-out and I-can’t-anymore (but I still find time to complete my to-do list for the next week, complete with little stars next to the items that must be completed first). Then, the cycle starts all over again on Monday. Am I crazy? Probably a little–but aren’t we all a little nuts? What I’m trying to write about here is my decision to start working towards balance in my life. I’ve always been a perfectionist, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, and sometimes I can freak myself out. I think part of my problem is that I have to stop allowing myself to worry about everything, from the smudge on the page of my crisp planner to that deadline I have to meet. There has to be a way to balance all of this, and I don’t think I’ve ever truly allowed myself the luxury of figuring out what that balance is.

I did a little research to see if anyone else has written about this struggle between work anxiety and actually getting work done, and I found some valuable posts. “Stop Worrying about Failure,” an excellent post on the blog personal development, opened my eyes to the reality of failure: it happens. I know I wrote a post about this recently, but I think “Stop Worrying about Failure” gives concrete advice: “There is no necessity of being afraid to fail at all, as in most cases it might just scare you off from doing it; the decision between success and failure lies often beyond your own control, when you did everything possible and made above average efforts to accomplish your targeted goal.” This is especially important for me (and people like me) to remember: if I did everything I could do, then I did my best. I have to learn to accept my best and not try to push myself almost to the breaking point. Another interesting blog post that addresses this is “Less-Confident People Are More Successful,” a post on the Harvard Business Review blog. It’s difficult for me to say that I agree with this blog post’s message because that means admitting that I feel less-than-confident in myself from time to time; however, after reading the post, I have to admit that it did make sense. I am not completely without confidence but I wouldn’t say I’m quite ready to stand in front of a room of my peers and express my ideas with conviction. It’s a long, slow learning process and I’m a millennial just trying to wade through it.

Heidi touched on this topic in her post last week and she put it nicely when she wrote, “If I stop thinking that nerves get in the way of communication but rather fuel it, I can focus them on what I’m actually communicating whether it’s a song, a presentation, or speech.” I feel similarly to what Heidi describes in that quote: I use my anxiety to fuel my desire to do well; but, there is a line between letting your nerves control you and using them for the greater good. I struggle to achieve a balance between insanity brought on by stress and complete, worry-free relaxation. I don’t believe either extreme is healthy and I’ve discovered just how much better I feel when I don’t indulge my tendency to work in hyperdrive when I feel overwhelmed. I’m not sure if this post is more rambling than a collection of well-thought out ideas that I’ve gathered to impart to you, dear readers, but I hope that, whatever it is, it has caused one of you to stop and think. Are you doing too much? Not doing enough? Feel like you’re going crazy? Take a step back and look at what you’ve accomplished in the past and what you’re on the way to accomplishing in the future–and pat yourself on the back! Oh yeah, and maybe get a massage.

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