Saturday, April 30, 2011

When Real Life Collides with Social Media

I have always considered myself to be good at multi-tasking.  Through the years I've managed my home, raised a family while being a working mom, made time to see friends, prepared home-cooked meals,  and even fast-tracked my MSN degree. I also found time to go to go on dates with my husband, work on hobbies, and even volunteer for professional organizations. Over the years I dabbled in various chat rooms and online forums. About two years ago I decided to take the plunge and engage in social media in a meaningful way. I signed up for an account on Twitter and decided that I would micro blog about anything related to nursing staff development. Within this venue I began to meet other nurses, educators, people in public relations, information technologist, managers, editors, and writers. I had to admit that this was an amazing way to share knowledge, events, and experiences that I found relevant to my practice and incredibly easy to do. In short, I was engaging in a cacophony of information from all parts of the world.
Over the next two years I found myself taking on more responsibilities. At work I was busily building online educational modules and managing both the nursing intranet and Internet educational websites for my institution. I had even experimented with different platforms for online Journal club including Facebook. I also took on the task of being the webmaster for my local Sigma Theta Tau International chapter while serving on the educational committee for another professional organization. For the first time in my career, I began submitting abstracts for national conferences, and they were even being accepted. Finally I decided that it was time to work on my own blog site. This is something that I had been putting off for quite some time because I knew that this was a responsibility and a commitment. During this time I had also received a full scholarship for an online distance learning program. This online program was time-consuming but I believed the endeavor added value to my experiences as a nurse educator as one of my professional goals was becoming a distance learning mentor for a nursing college.
Work was ramping up as my hospital began the process of converting to electronic health records. I became involved in this project while maintaining my online and other staff development job responsibilities. It was not my imagination that my real-life responsibilities were mounting. I was also as a TA in a distance learning informatics course. If that was not enough I had started a fiction book a year earlier and I was 340 pages in and with a chapter and a half left to complete it. Thank goodness my children are grown up otherwise I do not know where I would have found the time to do any of these things. In the social media realm, I continued networking with some amazing nurses and trying to work on a number of projects while continuing to blog and tweet. Despite juggling so many obligations I found that I was still able to deliver the goods until life recently threw me several unsettling curveballs in short order.
I underestimated the effects of overstretching myself that left little room for grieving or coping. I found that I was in overload and could not do another thing. I know that I am not the only person who has gotten herself into this situation. High achieving, high energy, type A personalities with a penchant for perfection, find  themselves running the risk of hitting the tipping point that ultimately leads to overload and burnout. The problem with this type behavior is that it does not leave any reserve for dealing with lifes inevitable tremors.  I needed some downtime.  I stopped blogging for a while and sporadically tweeted. This was not planned, it just happened. I knew I had to regain my footing. I stepped back for a while and decided to:

  • Set my priorities while maintaining boundaries to restore a healthy balance in my life.
  • Know my limitations
  • Engage in the endeavors I enjoy
  • Stop volunteering for  things that I do not have time to do or want to do
  • Finish the projects that were started a while ago
  • Carefully consider new requests that will impact on my time 
  • Set time aside to re-energize myself 
  • Reengage and and connect with others
  • Recognize that I am human 


  1. Amen, Teresa, amen. I love this post mainly because I can relate to it & it hits the spot (so nice to know I'm not alone in this struggle) but also because it is brilliantly written & easy to read. Thanks for the bullet list too. I love lists! :-)
    @LuvenRN on Twitter

  2. Thank-you very much Carolyn! I love lists too! = )