How to stay on track when you’re stressed and busy


photo credit: Stu Grieve

Ever make these faces when you’re feeling stressed out?

Better question: Can you find which one is me?! 

Welcome back everyone. Glad you all could spend some of your Friday with me.

Question: Who here has a busy schedule? *Scans the crowd* All of you? Even my unemployed friends in the back? Excellent. This will relate to all of you. (Though I hope you guys in the back get jobs. Soon.)

I get stressed a lot. I usually can’t go to bed without thinking about the million and ten things to do the following day. Heaven forbid I actually have to work the next day. That means I have even less time to be productive and efficient.

*Guys in the back of the crowd start grumbling*

Sorry, sorry. I’m very grateful for my survival job.

*Guys in the back mention that I tend to complain a lot about my survival job*

HEY. Let’s stay on track.

Where was I? Oh yes, being busy and freaking out. Let’s take a look at my past week: On Sunday night, I was stressing out. I had to work on Monday, squeeze in a workout, and attend a meeting right after. Tuesday I had class, an important phone call, and another workout. Wednesday I had work. Possibly a workout after. Thursday and Friday were less busy. But let’s be serious – it would be forever until Thursday would come.

Fast forward to Monday night. Busy day was out of the way. But I still needed to go over lines for my class scene. And then I had that phone call right after. Not to mention that checking for auditions would take twice as long, since I missed checking them on Monday. Let’s not talk about the ten or twelve other important things I had completely forgotten about.

Fast forward to Tuesday night: I missed my workout because I was too busy being stressed over the fact that I couldn’t get everything done this week.

Fast forward to Wednesday night. Work is done. Workout is done. I can sleep in tomorrow, and get ready to catch up on…what’s this? An important email ? I have an audition on Friday? And I won’t be getting the sides until Thursday? I thought I was done stressing out?

You get the idea.

We all are busy. I’m sure many of us have weeks like this on a regular basis. When having a jam packed schedule, it’s important to focus on “what needs to be done now.” If you are constantly thinking about “what needs to be done for the entire week,” you’re going to stress out. Trust me. I know a guy who does this all the time.

*More grumbling from the back*

Ah! Good to see you, Peter. Didn’t realize you made it out tonight.

I also want to address how to keep track of the week ahead without worrying about it every day. Or worse, not thinking about the whole week and then forgetting about important events. Here’s what I recommend: Write down everything you have to do for the entire week. Then figure out what day of the week you’re going to get them done. Do your best not to list too many things for the same day! In my accountability group (“My Big Year,” run by the one and only Courtney Rioux), we were discussing how most of us tend to do too much at once. When this happens to me, I get upset I haven’t finished everything. A negative voice comes in my head. It says something like, “Really, Tony? You went another day without working on your Actor’s Business Blueprint that you paid $300 for? How are you supposed to be a successful actor if you can’t even devote thirty minutes to the program you vowed to work on every day?”

Do not listen to negative chatter that you’ve made up in your head. Ignore it and continue being the awesome person that you are.

Admittedly, I hadn’t made my list this week. It made things much harder and stressful than they needed to be.

That’s all for tonight. Now go out there get things done! If you don’t get to everything, that’s okay! Acknowledge what happened. Then make a plan to move forward. It’s that easy.

I’ll see you all next Friday. (Even you, Peter.)

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