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Wellbeing / Stress management

Coping with chaos: A moving story

Before embarking on the journey, I wondered why moving is said to be one of the most stressful things you can do. Shove a few things in boxes, put them on a truck - how hard can it be?

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Three days post move, which went smoothly, I’m being kept awake by the catalogue of things to do. The fridge is empty and cupboards are bare. Relatives arrive from overseas in 24 hours. At least half of our boxes remain unpacked. Work deadlines, like this newsletter, are looming.

In other words, it’s chaos.

As an advocate of the simple life, I’m finding coping with chaos mighty hard to adjust to.

It seems not an hour goes by without having to calculate an opportunity cost. Should I make Amy a proper dinner, or make the guest’s bed? Where is the bedding, anyway?

Then when you get something done there’s no time to reward yourself, as it’s onto the next urgent, important task.

"I wouldn’t describe myself as a perfectionist, but being forced to downgrade my expectations is really hard."

I wouldn’t describe myself as a perfectionist, but being forced to downgrade my expectations is really hard.

For example, it’s dawning on me that when my family get here, they will see pictures leaning against, not up on walls.

Want more articles like this? Check out the stress-management section.

I’m also concerned that two of my oldest friends, both of whom have birthdays in October, may go giftless this year.

And I’m far from happy that my wonderful team of contributors may have to wait a bit longer for feedback on their articles this month.

Coping with chaos means I’m going to have to cut some corners, chomping through the most pressing tasks and embracing compromise.

I know this intensity won’t last and I’m not at breaking point, although the thought of hiding away in an empty wardrobe for an hour or two is somewhat appealing.

I’m not clear headed enough to understand what the lesson from this experience is. Perhaps you can you help me make sense of it. Are you someone for who thrives on chaos? What are your strategies for coping with chaos? 

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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