The phrase "head hangy" is one Kathy made up, and is essentially an unpleasant task, hanging over your head (hence the name) that colors your entire mood -- often, without you even realizing it. You know the type. You are cranky for days, sometimes weeks, and then you give the presentation, confront the family member, make the doctor's appointment, do your taxes, whatever, and suddenly, you are light and free and fun to be around again.
I have had so many head hangies over the last two weeks that I've been snappish, cranky, and stressed. Anxious and sleep deprived. All manner of lovely things that make the mornings go really smoothly at our house (haha). Finally, I realized how many head-hangies I had, and started diligently trying to get some of them off my head. I also made a concerted effort to drink coffee before speaking, which also helps immeasurably.
Just when I finally managed to clear all the head hangies, I was informed that I have due diligence over the next ten to fourteen days -- which includes this weekend and Memorial Day weekend -- except that I have no idea when the documents will be provided. It could be any time today, any time over the weekend, or any time on Monday. (For you non-lawyer types, due diligence involves massive piles of documents provided by the other side, all of which must be read by a lawyer to make sure that the client will still want whatever transaction to go forward. It is often mind-numbing, but you can't actually allow your mind to go numb, or you will probably miss something crucial. If you are really lucky, you get to summarize everything you read in a 200 page memo.)
This is the worst kind of head hangy! The kind you have absolutely no control over, but which can come crashing in and ruin your life at any moment! The kind that ties you to your desk on a breathtakingly beautiful Friday afternoon, and ties you to your blackberry for a weekend at Fire Island working on your house.
So, it turns out that there are two ways to deal with head hangies. The preferred method involves doing the unpleasant task in front of you so that you can actually clear it. Now I get to practice the other method, which is to decide how much mental energy the head hangy deserves, and try to give it just exactly that much, and no more.
For my diligence project, it means staying at work until six, and then allowing myself to go home. Then, for the weekend, it means setting the alarm on my phone so I check my email every so often, but also so I don't have to carry it around with me everywhere I go, checking frantically every time an email comes in. And it means conscientiously avoiding dwelling on catastrophe-related scenarios, like "I just know the minute I get on the ferry the documents are going to come in and my computer won't work and I'm going to have to turn around and go home, thereby destroying not only my weekend, but the work I was going to get done on the house, and as a result, the entire wedding." You know, not that I would ever think that, but just in case.