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Death by (Electronic) Chocolate

It’s too much!! There’s just too much!! I’m drowning, I’m overwhelmed, I’m going under!! Throw me a strawberry!

First everyone said I should start a blog (that was about five years ago, the technology train long left the station without me). I finally do it and now it’s pod casting, and linking to other blogs and sites, and social networking, and live feeds and on, and on, and on! How do people have time to actually do any work anymore? Trying to get your arms around all this technology is like sticking your head in a chocolate fountain. It seems like a good idea until your airways are blocked.

Part of my problem is that I have perfectionist issues (among many other issues which I will attempt to keep to myself). I don’t want to know just a little about chocolate – I want to know EVERYTHING about chocolate. At least I think this could be possible. With some topics, you can give it up – they are too vast. Motivation for example. The study of motivation includes psychology, leadership, how the brain functions, communication, and on and on and on. There are at least 500,000,000 people who call themselves “motivation experts” ranging from life coaches (who sometimes can’t balance their own checkbooks) to high school gym teachers to formerly homeless people who motivated themselves off the street. It all makes my head hurt. I need some M&Ms.

Well, I’d like to become, some day, very knowledgeable about chocolate and how it can teach us larger lessons. So I’ve been visiting websites, reading books, getting Google Alerts, visiting chocolate factories, and am trying not to tank the whole idea because it is so damn overwhelming. Every blog mentions a new website which links to another site which references a book – AIEEE! At the end of the day I feel a little smarter, but also like I’m farther back than when I started.

I’m willing to bet a lot of you feel the same way. It’s not chocolate you’re researching, but maybe it’s something else. Or maybe it’s your e-mail inbox – you send out three, you get back five. You went to a meeting which took two hours and you got three new assignments (and 40 more e-mails). Your head is in the chocolate fountain too.

Here are my thoughts to save myself which I hope will help you too:

1.) Pull your head out of the fountain. First we have to pull back – you can’t concentrate when chocolate is going up your nose. Do what you need to do – go to lunch by yourself, take a day off, go sit in your car. Maybe you just need to disable the e-mail alert, send your calls to voicemail, and clear off your desk. What you have to have is some quiet and some solitude. And stop making excuses – you can get it if you want it.

2.) Wipe the chocolate off your eyes. You’ve got to get a clear perspective on things. Ask yourself, “Which of the 10 million things I could be doing right now would have the greatest impact on my success?” (Now you have to define success for yourself – is success for you spending time with your family? having fun? making money? making your boss happy?) And don’t give me that crybaby answer, “I’ve got to do whatever my boss says.” Your boss is not dictating your every move. Most bosses WISH their employees would think for themselves. As long as you’re blaming your circumstances on anyone other than yourself, chocolate is still covering your eyes.

3.) Control the dripping. You can’t deal with everything at once. People have lost their minds when it comes to technology. If you are going to respond to every e-mail you get in ten seconds, you might as well switch your brain to off. You aren’t going to be able to focus on anything or do any kind of analysis or deep thinking. Figure out some way to carve blocks of time into your day to complete projects that will really make a difference. Interruptions and distractions destroy productivity.

4.) Focus on the positive. Hey—there are a lot worse things you could be covered in than chocolate! You may have a ton of work to do, but at least you have a job. Every situation can be looked at in a way that will empower you or in a way that will discourage you. Go for the power!

5.) Let go of the crumbs. There are probably going to be some chocolate crumbs in your hair even after you’ve washed it a few times. Would it be better to spend three hours and make sure every crumb was gone or spend 45 minutes and get on with your life? Don’t beat everything to death – do your best and let it go. Finishing the project is what counts, not how fancy the clip art was adorning the cover. Don’t get lost in the details – remember the goal. And hey, if you go around smelling like chocolate, who knows what great things might happen?

Just know you are not alone – there are a lot of us with chocolate crumbs in our hair.

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