So, five o'clock rolls around, and I haven't really started on my sash, but, oh boy, is my dining room looking better. And I've started a dozen organizing projects and finished six. Way to go! But either I have to be late or forget the sash.Eventually everything gets done, but I'm late a lot. And it's always worse if I spend the whole trip to the party/school pickup/coffee date with my friend explaining myself over and over, practicing my reason why I was late, trying to make the sash project sound witty and adorable, not obsessive. Half the time, I'll arrive and my friend is not even the tiniest bit mad, and I don't have to give my speech. Maybe she doesn't even notice. Maybe she's late, too.
- Set aside a certain time each month to “worry,” err, budget and go through your bills and expenses. Make an appointment on your calendar. Make it long enough so you can do everything that needs to be done; follow up on payment plans or write checks or figure out who owes you for that side of beef you were sharing. When it's done, button it up. Stop thinking about it.
- Don't open the mail right as it arrives. (At least not the mail from creditors, investment plans, utilities and the like.) If you're prone to worry, opening a bill or a financial statement will trigger that worry. Do it all at once, once a week or a couple of times each month.
- When worries creep in, interrogate them. “What if this deposit doesn't clear in time?” “What if those two stocks go down together?” First ask your worries, “What is the worst that could happen?” and “what are you really afraid of?” and “how will worrying help a bit?” Unless you can actually change the outcome by worrying, it's not worth it. Tell your worries that. Make them stand up for themselves. I bet they'll crumple!
- Appoint someone else the executor of your worries. If you're partnered, or in any sort of relationship with a loved one who is less anxious than you are, hand over the worries to your spouse or significant other or sibling. Tell them the trouble and let them worry about it (chances are, it won't seem like that big of a deal when you say it out loud).
- Don't shop your worries away. (Or buy them away with coffee/tea/sweets/alcohol/etc.) This may make you feel better in the moment, but it will make things worse when you start worrying about the money you just spent.
- Find a mantra or a problem to return to when the worries creep in. It could be a sweet, romantic memory. Or a favorite song lyric or poem. Or, if you're a math geek, work out a problem in your head. Recite this bit from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (my favorite rhythmic earworm). Figure out what to do with the broken pottery you've been saving - a mosaic maybe, on the coffee table? Design something in your head. Create; don't worry.