Stress, Scatterbrains and Squirrels

The post about this week is in two parts. First part: all the craziness going on. Second part (next post): the cool things to celebrate!

In my book I’m Not Neat But I’m Organized, I talk about different time and space organizing styles, represented by animals. These are different aspects of people order their lives.

One of these is the Squirrel. Squirrels hide nuts and forget about them. So the Squirrel represents people who are scatterbrained, random, and nonsequential.

I am a Squirrel to quite a large degree. I have always had a poor memory and my mother said when I was growing up, “you were off in your own little world.” She called me a daydreamer.

Nowadays, this quality can be quite annoying. I have been called “Dory” by my friends, after the forgetful fish in Finding Nemo.

It seems to be quite an oxymoron, how I enjoy and can coordinate large, complicated events, but can’t even do a quality job organizing my own speaking engagement. As someone I worked with pointed out, I like large challenging projects, and small things (like making my own travel arrangements) always seem to fall through the cracks because it’s just not interesting so I assume everything will work out.

To make things worse, my crazy life in the last 2 months has set me way behind schedule, and it all came to a culmination this week. I thought I listed the things going on but I can’t seem to find them anywhere in my blog. Here’s been a summary of my life since 2010 started and why my work has been slipping further and further behind:

Jan week 1: First week back at work, slammed due to being on holiday, and new quarter kicking off means lots of stuff in play.

Jan week 2: Go to Atlanta for a conference. While I am there, I forget my Kindle there, which sets me behind on my homework. (And I can’t get to most of my normal workload.)

Jan week 3: I get my Kindle back but the day after, my computer logic board fails and I send it in for repair. My 281GB backup file is corrupted and I can’t recover any files. No work accomplished. I also get into a car accident.

Jan week 4: We have a special event at church that I am in charge of, which means both days off I am working on the event.

Feb week 1: I get my computer back but than I am called into jury duty. I fall even further behind. At least it is the last day of a 4-week class I am teaching! (Class was a lot of fun to teach but took tons of time to create from scratch.)

Feb week 2: I finish up jury duty but then I end up sick. I am out for a week, sleeping a ton and coughing (still coughing 4 weeks later!)

Feb week 3: There is a holiday. Holidays are not particularly helpful in ministry as it just means you have to work your day off later in the week. Also I have 6 1-hour presentations to prepare for a very large homework assignment that took a ton of time.

Feb week 4: There is a marriage conference at work (during my days off). Major conflict that needed to be resolved and took some time.

March week 1: Which brings us to this week… This week, I was so tired I fell down the stairs and dropped my vitamins all over the floor of the bathroom. I guess I am a little clumsy when I am tired. By last night, my eye was twitching nonstop, a sign of stress.

I was so behind preparing for my conference talk I had to give today because I had planned to work on it the last two weeks. But because of my crazy life these last 2 months, I basically got very little done.

The workshop was 5.5 hours of teaching (after you remove all the breaks and lunch). I worked on it Tuesday. Yesterday (Wednesday) I went to Starbucks all day, camped out there and plowed through my outline. Then I ran to church and made copies. 10 minutes before I was going to leave, I found out more people had signed up for the workshop so I went back to the copy room and made more copies.

I started my PowerPoint in the evening. It took over 7 hours and had 178 slides. I was up until 4 in the morning finishing everything up.

Lay in bed wide awake until 5:45 am because I had drunk some chai and it kept me awake.

Alarm went off so I just got up and got ready to go to the conference. Fortunately, Albert was driving. I put on my comfortable shoes for travel and grabbed my dress shoes to take along. Later I discovered I had grabbed blue shoes instead of black shoes and since I was wearing black, that wouldn’t work. So I wore my cracked and peeling old black shoes the whole day while presenting.

A few miles before exiting, I discovered we were actually heading to the wrong church because I had looked at the wrong place on the website for the location. Oops. Quick remapping of our plan!

Then we exited and found a Starbucks but we missed the turn into the parking lot. Had to turn around and discovered we had to make another U-turn. I was feeling nauseous.

Finally we made it in but there was a really long line. I had to go to the bathroom but the door was locked.

Finally we got my chai to wake me up and headed to the church. My husband dropped me off on the sidewalk because he was late for a meeting for his work. I told him to just go because I didn’t want him to be late.

So there I stood, feeling stressed, carsick, tired, with a big pile of things to bring to the room that would require multiple trips. I was just praying for God’s strength.

This is what Squirrels need to do often, I have discovered! Well… at least I do…I’m kind of a basket case…

A Yee

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

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