How do you deal with responsibility?

How do you deal with responsibility in your everyday life?

What are your coping strategies when responsibilities get overwhelming? (which they’re bound to get at some point)

10 thoughts on “How do you deal with responsibility?

  1. I am a born procrastinator but have been successfully getting better about it through the last few years by assigning myself sub-deadlines. This also helps me avoid getting over-whelmed because I have a clear plan. I have also been working on getting better at asking for help when I need it.

    • Yes! Those are two great procrastination fighters: having a clear plan with deadlines and asking for help. Sometimes they go together in terms of asking for help to set a clear plan :)

      Acknowledging that you’re a procrastinator (so many people are!) and actively working to improve that will lead you to leaving those habits behind, even though it doesn’t happen overnight.

  2. I am super responsible, driven, type-A perfectionist. Like all the time. I am currently berating myself for snarfing down that bag of doritos just now that was totally against my diet. I’m always trying to be more perfect.

    What that translates into is….I am perfect for as long as I possibly can stand it, and then I lose it, and it’s not pretty.

    So I need to pace myself, be gentle with myself and others. I am working on keeping my goals in mind, but also realizing that sometimes the universe gets in the way, and getting all upset about it doesn’t do any good.

    I am also a parent of a small child, and that alone, on top of my schooling, leadership roles and relationships, can seem a bit much. But one of the reasons that I get overwhelmed is that I am prideful and am not good at asking for help!

    That’s also something I am working on!

    • Being Type-A is a double edged sword isn’t it?! I read a lot of books about psychology and there was a study done (I’ll find the actual citation when all my books arrives in CA!) that said self-control is a muscle that actually gets tired. When it’s used intensely (for example being a perfectionist in certain areas of your world) it makes the ‘self-control muscle’ gets tired (which leads to the bag of Doritos!). A good way to combat that is to choose certain things for your projects or work that you could compromise on if need be. I like to say, shoot for the moon and you’ll still land on a star!

      I’m a pretty big perfectionist too and as I’ve added ever more projects and pieces of my business I’ve HAD to let go of certain things. I like to set “ideal” deadlines, etc a little bit before actual deadlines, etc. so I have some buffer room.

      • Wow, Kali! I’d loved to read that article–cuz that pretty much sums me up! So in control in some areas of my life, and so out of control in others! Fascinating! It can be very hard for me to let things go—but I am recognizing that learning what needs to be done, and what doesn’t, and to what degree, is a very important part of being a functioning human being.

  3. Perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand, don’t they? I’m not going to do it unless/until I’m *sure* I can Do It Right the first time…

    > How do you deal with responsibility in your everyday life?

    To sort this one out, I have to consider the various types of responsibility that I have. I’m self-employed, for the most part (even when “employed” actually means “volunteering”), and do a work-from-home job where my employer is in a different city as well, so a number of my responsibilities revolve around “being a self-starter” in various ways. I rely on making lists (frequntly in my head, but literally writing things down, too) in order to keep myself set on what needs to get done.
    E.G.: today’s involves “do Leadership homework; blog for PBP13; hustle for fetish-modeling work; light altar candles (finally); and bake a dessert. Tomorrow’s might involve working on projects 1 and 2 for the work-from-home outreach job; emailing my various artist contacts and reminding them that I’m available for figure-modeling; following up on a couple of poets who I’m trying to book for the Grand Finale of my monthly showcase; touching base with the guys I run the poetry festival with; and making stew. Wednesday might be dedicated to working on my novel and/or poetry manuscripts while making bread and more soup stock.

    But I also have responsibilities to myself – like making sure I actually *do* ten minutes (or more, but definitely ten minutes) of yoga and/or take a walk around the neighbourhood and/or go for a swim at the community centre; like making that dress-maker’s dummy earn its keep by actually building clothing on it; like honouring my gods and ancestors through my wee devotional practices; like making time for myself to do things like this course, or like studying the work of people like Lee Harrington, Wintersong and Del Tashlyn, and Barbara Carrellas, or like practicing my trance work or actually doing some vocal warm-ups.
    These are, typically, the first things to get shoved off to the side when things get “busy”. Even though I know it’s a bad idea. (A friend of mine linked to a post by… Seth Godin? (something like that) that was called “Urgent! Please read!” that talked about how we tend to triage our activities so that “urgent” gets treated as synonymous with “important” or “necessary” all the time. I do this a lot, even though I know that it’s not helping me in any way, shape, or form, to prioritize on largely unpaid activity over another (and feeling like my writing is “frivolous” or “wasting time” is… bad. I don’t want to feel like that, not when I’m also trying to take myself seriously as a writer).

    I have responsibilities to my wife, both as her spouse and as her owner. I’m pretty good at the wifely responsibilities part. Even if I do say so myself, I’m a hella supportive partner and I take care of my beloved. As her owner, on the other hand, I don’t feel so confident. She says that I hold her well, and I’m relieved to hear it. But I frequently feel like I’m not doing enough and/or that what I’m doing is very haphazzard and unorganized. I don’t *know* what it is that I do, at any given time, that makes her feel held, that makes her *want* to be a “good horse” as we say, and follow my lead. I do have a couple of fall-back options (lists for her, in this case), but I find that as I get overwhelmed in the “job” areas of my life, I wind up relying on her to be a self-starter (even though she’s been very clear about *why* she does better with someone else to give her dirrection) in the service part of our relationship because I get resentful about sparing the time, energy, and attention to go “I want you to do this. Do this. Do this *now*, my girl” for [tasks X, Y, and Z], feeling like it’s easier and faster to just do it myself. (I feel like this when I’m in a lot of leadership roles, actually).

    And, lastly, I have responsibilities to my friends and my acquaintances within The Community. Frequently all this means is dropping a quite email or a facebook comment or a tweet or whatever to someone in order to remind them that I’m thinking of them and hoping that they’re doing well. Telling them I miss them. That kind of thing. Other times, it requires a little more of me – longer, more involved emails discussing specific stuff that a friend/acquaintance is coping with right now, keeping in touch with someone I met through work but with-whom I’ve established something of a personal relationship, keeping track of how long its been since I actually sat down and hung out with my friends in person. Inviting people for breakfast or dinner. Saving up to go and attend my friends’ performances. That kind of thing.

    > What are your coping strategies when responsibilities get overwhelming? (which
    > they’re bound to get at some point)

    Uhm… Okay. To a point, my coping “strategy” is Avoidance.
    Which doesn’t work. In the long-run or the short-run, really. But I do it, so I’m listing it. Frequently my coping strategies include:
    Making schedules. Breaking down each monumental task into a zillion tiny, achievable things that all have specific time-slots dedicated to them. There’s a point where this stops working, where my schedules have sub-schedules and “see list A; see list B” appendices, and I’m still overwhelmed. At that point, I tend to call in reinforcements – usually my wife/servant – to handle some of the running around. This can be anything from “I need you to go to the store and pick up the following items on your way home, and then I need you to put Item X in the oven for dinner, as soon as you come in the door” to “I need you to cater Event Q’s take-down lunch because we don’t have the money to get the grocery store to make the finger sandwiches” all the way to “Can you find me some volunteers for set-up? Who do you think would help?” and “Aaaaaaaaaugh!!! My computer has just crashed! I need to use yours *right now*, hand it over.” (100% of those examples have happened, fyi).
    … But usually, I try to do it all myself because then I don’t have the added stress of relying on other people to actually do what I need them to do in a timely and accurate manner.

    Beyond that…
    Court burn-out. Get angry. Run around in circles like a chicken with my head cut off. Pray. Bake desserts that I have no desire to actually consume. Do tarrot readings asking for advice, guidance, and clarification (frequently helpful, I don’t mind telling you). Get secretive and paranoid. Take long baths. Avoid talking to people who might want to ask me anything about whatever it is that is stressing me out. Hate my work. Miss loving my work. Cry. Do yoga. Get through it and then recover afterwords.

    I’m aware that most of these “coping strategies” are… neither. But some of them do help.

    • I can definitely empathize with many of the things you have described. I feel residual pain just by reading your words off my screen. Perfectionism is an evil dragon that is so difficult to slay; but it is possible to overcome it (or at least, cage it). Try reading the link I posted below about the “psychologist recommended coping strategies” for perfectionism. It might help a little bit, or at least clarify things.

  4. >> How do you deal with responsibility in your everyday life?

    Nowadays, I actually deal with responsibility quite well. The checklist in my head is: Prioritize, Strategize, Delegate, Evaluate, repeat…

    a) Prioritize: I used to have trouble saying “no” because I have a wide range of interests; but now I realize my time/energy is important so I shouldn’t undervalue it. Everyday, even for small things, I use the “10/10/10 method” to decide whether something is worth my energy. I ask myself, “Will this matter 10 minutes from now, 10 days from now, 10 months from now?” If the answer is no, then I don’t care about it and focus on things that I do sincerely care about.

    b) Strategize: This involves big-picture thinking; making lists, having plans, setting S.M.A.R.T goals, finding help when needed, borrowing best practices, etc

    c) Delegate: This was a hard step to achieve, but it’s probably been the most beneficial. Delegation, when done successfully, not only saves you huge amounts of time, but it also gives others the opportunity to learn new skills — and that builds in the working capacity of the entire group. You can now focus on more “high-level”, creative, visionary tasks; and your helpers can focus on the everyday, maintenance tasks.

    d) Evaluate: I think progress often occurs not in leaps and bounds, but in small small, steady, incremental improvements. I’ve got a background in science, so that’s where this perspective comes from. Therefore, I believe it is critical to ask questions and be critical of one’s own work in order to become better. Subsequently, I have been heavily influence by the idea of *Praxis Makes Perfect*, which can be summed up as:

    “Theory without action produces armchair revolutionaries. Action without reflection produces ineffective or counter-productive activism. That’s why we have praxis: a cycle of theory, action and reflection that helps us analyze our efforts in order to improve our ideas.”

    >>What are your coping strategies when responsibilities get overwhelming? (which they’re bound to get at some point)

    Years ago, I had a psychologist friend give me a booklet was tremendous for my own sanity. It doesn’t have all the answers, but it points you in the right direction. It’s called:

    Everything You Ever Needed to Know about Coping with Student Life, But were Afraid to Ask. Psychologist Recommendaed Strategies to Cope with:
    – Stress
    – Depression
    – Sleep Problems
    – Procrastination
    – Test Anxiety
    – Panic Attacks
    – Anger
    – Lack of Assertiveness
    – Perfectionism

    I’ve uploaded online so you can download it. (Warning, some formatting got messed up when I uploaded, but the content is still understandable.)

  5. I deal with responsibility very seriously. I grew up at a very young age and had a lot of responsibility put on me when I was about 13. I believe that if someone gives you a level of responsibility, you need to prov that they were not wrong. It involves a great deal of trust and respect for someone to give you that in the first place.

    Stress is inevitable with being in a position with responsibility. I find the best way for me to deal with it when it gets overwhelming, is to take a quick step back. Take a deep breath and let myself relax. I find that just a couple minutes away from what is causing the issues, lets things become clearer and easier to deal with.

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