Brain overload

Well the past few days are a great example of what happens to my brain when I am overloaded. When I’ve got one (or more) major projects due and a deadline approaching and I end up in scrambling mode, there are a number of clues that are a dead giveaway that my brain is in overload mode.

  • Messy desk. No time to clean. Mail accumulates. Even being organized can’t help when you don’t take the time to process stuff coming in.
  • Neglected hobbies. This is ok as I can go long stints without time for hobbies. I’m just trying to head towards more balance, so it’s not good that I don’t have time, but it doesn’t impact my emotional state in a huge way.
  • Forgetten things. Being a naturally forgetful person, my scatterbrainedness approaches near-disaster level.

So yesterday’s highlight was a conversation on the phone with one of my leaders who was quite upset. He had emailed me (but I had been in meetings and hadn’t replied) and left a phone message (I hadn’t checked my voicemail), and finally he called again and I happened to be at my desk.

He was upset because I had done something without communicating the change to him, thus negatively impacting his leadership. He was totally right. I had not only forgotten to communicate, but I had also misunderstood an email he sent me, and also remembered getting an email from his wife (but he said she didn’t send one.) Many dropped balls. I apologized profusely.

Today was another example:

  • Head out the door to go to the dentist.
  • Run back into the house… forgot something (I forget now what I forgot.)
  • Drive to dentist. I have already been to the dentist a number of times.
  • Space out about how I didn’t get my budget proposal in on time and how I need to work on that.
  • Suddenly realize I have driven past F Street. Think, “Oh no! The dentist on is F Street!”
  • Make a U turn back and then turn onto F Street.
  • Drive down F Street and think, “Uh oh. I don’t think the dentist is on F Street. I think he’s on Anderson.”
  • Make a U-turn back and head towards Anderson. Sure enough, the dentist is on Anderson!

After that:

  • Drive home and eat lunch and then head over to church to work.
  • Drive a few blocks and realize I forgot my  paper cutter.
  • Make a turn around the block and come home and pick up the paper cutter.

Then tonight my friend Karen came over so that I could drive with her to a farm where we were going to have our worship team rehearsal (every room in our church is full tonight).

  • Karen says she has been there before but isn’t exactly sure how to get there.
  • I say, “No problem! I have directions!”
  • We get in the car. Suddenly I realize the directions are on my computer.
  • Run back into the house. Look for the email for directions and realize email says the address, gives the cross street, and then says “call for directions.”
  • Try to look up address on Google Maps. It doesn’t exist.
  • Try to call Keith, our worship director, for directions. No answer.
  • Go back to car and say to Karen, “Oh well! We’ll wing it!”
  • We drive. And drive. And drive and drive. We pass Road 99, 98, 97…
  • I say to Karen, “We have a while. The cross street is Road 89.”
  • We drive more. Pretty soon we are on a dark deserted road in the country. (Deja vu.)
  • Pretty soon we come to a sign that says, “Road 31.”
  • I say, “Uh oh.”
  • Karen says, “Uh oh.”
  • There is no Road 89.
  • I pull off a turnoff and we call. Hurray! We have reached Keith! He gives us directions.
  • Oops, it wasn’t  Road 89. It was Road 98. More than 4 miles back.

So eventually we make it and have a very pleasant (and a little chilly) rehearsal in the garage of our friend’s farm, out in vast fields of darkness. Keith says, “Guess we don’t have to worry about bothering the neighbors!”

Finally it is time to go home. Karen and I get in the car.

  • We drive home.
  • Karen says, “Oh no! I left my music there! I’m so forgetful. I’m always leaving stuff behind.”
  • I say, “I’m the same way. I leave stuff behind too!”
  • I internally pat myself on the back that I remembered to bring my music with me instead of forgetting it.
  • I get home and get a text from Keith. I have forgotten my water bottle and left it behind.

So let’s see what the next 24 hours holds….

A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — and teaches leadership skills at

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  1. Pete Sung - February 23, 2009

    Whoa, that sounds so stressful just reading it! I’m glad I don’t have the demands you have. I’d be forgetting stuff everyday!

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