Anyone who lived through the 70’s, as a child or adult, probably remembers the “Calgon, take me away!” commercials.  I have made reference to having a “Calgon” day for years… (not every day, just some days!)  this has been one of those “Calgon” weeks.

What does it mean to have a “Calgon” day, week or moment? That means I’m working on one project while the phone is ringing about another, my son is yelling something about needing a ride from downstairs and I can barely hear him, the doorbell is ringing and oh great! The modern wonder of call waiting has decided to join the fray… in a nutshell it means frazzled and too many things demanding attention at once.

The answer? According to Calgon, RUN don’t walk to the bathroom, lock yourself in a pour in some bubbles.  Great for bubble sales, not the best choice for actually dealing with the stress or multiple demands on your time long-term.

Here are six things to consider to keep your “Calgon” days to a minimum:

  1. Remember that most things are not as urgent and they think they are. Get in the habit of asking yourself, “Does this really need to be done this minute?”  Often the answer will be no.
  2. Outsource. “Calgon” moments often come when you try to wear your Superman or Superwoman cape and do everything yourself.  If you have too many days of overwhelm, grab your bubbles and while in the bath, figure out what you can delegate to others – be in bathroom cleaning duties to your son or hiring someone to do you book-keeping.
  3. Unplug. If you turn off your cell phone and computer, you won’t even know what emails have come in until you are ready to tackle them.  This is often hard for me but when I need to focus, paint and create, I will turn off the computer.
  4. Get your priorities straight. The more you know what you do and don’t do as an artist or a person, the easier it will be to filter out unnecessary activities. Do you do logos and art for galleries and art for licensing and babysit the neighbors cat?  You might get stretched thin.  As your income gets to the level you need it to be, start looking at what you want to spend time on and learn to say the magic word…. no.
  5. Set boundaries.  If you regularly have too many demands on your time at the same time, you need to get more protective of your time.  Let your friends know you won’t be answering personal calls in the middle of the day.  Tell your kids to ride their bike – your taxi is not available 24/7.  Whatever you need to do to regain control and sanity – do it!
  6. Take time for yourself. Remember to find time for yourself to do whatever you want.  Go to the gym, the movies, lunch… heck, take a nap in the middle of the day!  (of course, you can always grab the Calgon and take a bath!) Whatever you need to do to keep your energy flowing and not just going to all the random things in life is going to benefit everyone in the long-run.

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I’ve decided to stop my Calgon day dead in it’s tracks.  I’ll be reminding myself of #1, working on #2 and in about 3 hours, ready-or-not it’s time for #6.  Now enjoy this oldie but goodie and have a fabulous, stress-free day!

– Tara