Monthly Archives: August 2014

Moving Stress

I’m in the middle of two major life changes right now. First of all, I started a new job last week, at a new agency.  Second of all, as I write this, I’m surrounded by green bins.  In NYC, you can actually rent big plastic bins instead of buying boxes – so much more eco friendly – so we didn’t have to spend our usual $200 on boxes at Box City or similar.  (Actually, I think the LA move was $350 on moving supplies alone, but that apartment was also 400sq feet bigger than our Brooklyn home)

I thought I could pull all this off because I have two major support systems.  First of all is my husband, who, as the work-at-home-on-flex-hours parent, has been handling childcare & house fixing. Paul’s been over at the new house, painting and fixing things and preparing for move in.  He’s taking Ben to Pittsburgh to stay with my in-laws until next week so Ben will stop trying to pack himself in a box, and so we have a weekend without our child to unpack and settle in (and re-build his bed).  Paul is, as everyone knows, an amazing husband who is flat-out awesome 365 days a year.  

The other reason I thought I could pull this off is that I am a Taskmistress.  Over last few years, I’ve become much more organized than I ever thought possible.  Now, I leverage my new favorite toy, ToDoIst to map out everything in my personal life using GTD principles.  So I thought that if I could just map everything out, one step at a time, I’d be able to stay on the path & not crack from stress.

But this weekend, I’m finding out that isn’t the case.  I never managed to grip the moving process well enough to figure out what to pack and when.  Like the kitchen: I cook so much, when do I pack it all?  I’ve spent weeks re-organizing files in the office so we could pack up what I refer to as “Paul’s lair”, and I have been going through my clothes and general Things I Own to try and cull down the amount of stuff to go.  But I never mapped out “on day -5, pack books, on day -4 pack the pantry, etc”. 

As a result, it’s now day -3 and I’ve been paralysed to move because of the sheer size of the task.  Looking at the sheer amount of stuff to be packed, I’m tempted to get overwhelmed and go hide somewhere and hope it goes away.  I’ve packed up half the kitchen so far, including packing my canning supplies and zillion mason jars, putting my frequent-use pantry items in a clear bin for easy finding next week, and packing my Small Appliance Farm* up in the rented bins with extra clothes to pad them in there.*   But I haven’t packed the pantry, or my pots and pans, or any dishes yet, and although I was greatly inspired by this blog entry on pre-move cooking, I’m still slow to pack my cooking tools because I have DRAWERS full of CSA produce that needs to get processed.

This is classic project paralysis: when I find myself unable to move because I haven’t broken down the project into easily manageable steps that I can handle mentally as well as physically.  I know from reading The Now Habit that procrastination is often a result of failure to understand the next steps, and I use that as a project standard when doing weekly reviews.  If there’s a project I’ve been procrastinating, I understand that it is because I need a clearly defined set of two or three steps to kick it off and see the path.  For this move, I didn’t isolate those steps, and now it’s an overwhelming situation.

The other mental block is having to pack clothes for next week – which ties back into the new job.  I”ve been stress eating lately, and have gained back five or six pounds.  This means I now hate my clothes because I feel like nothing looks good on me right now.  So I have to pick out the clothes that do still look good so I can make a good impression at the new job.  I don’t want everyone’s first impression of me to be to think I’m frumpy. So I am trying to pull out things that work on the body I have, for the season I’m in, that are not plain and boring.  Until I can ramp up and roll on my own merits as a boss, I still feel I need to make a good first impression with clothes.  (At Mindshare, I blended in, but I also didn’t care because I had made my reputation there, and everyone respected me no matter what.) This is probably overly self-conscious of me…but it’s tough, being new kid in school, even at an agency where everyone seems to be a recent hire because of the fast growth rate.  

Fortunately, I have my friends coming over today!  My old friend Kelly is in town visiting from LA, and my dear friend Wendy is coming down from the Upper East Side (you KNOW your friends love you when they visit Brooklyn from North Manhattan on a regular basis).  We will all get time to hang out, eat dinner, drink wine, catch up – and I will have four extra hands to help me shove stuff into boxes – I mean bins – 

Now that I write all this out, I’m feeling better.  I find blogging is not only my way of one-way communication, but also my way of explaining things to myself.  Having to explain things to you, my friends who are bothering to read this far, often helps me sort out my thoughts in the same way talking them through would.  Next steps are to pack clothes for the next four days, and then use everything else to pad out all my kitchen gear.

*The Small Appliance Farm:

  1. Kitchenaid mixer
  2. Cuisinart food processor
  3. Hamilton-Beech blender
  4. Ninja stick blender, and a mini-food-processor that goes with said stick blender
  5. Hamilton-Beech full size juicer
  6. a combination toaster oven/toaster that does neither job well,
  7. Rice maker
  8. Crock-Pot (aka Working Mom’s Best Friend)
  9. Series of Food Cutting Tools: spiral cutter, mandoline slicer and my beloved Nicer Dicer.