In Case of Emergency… Transcript

So this isn’t the episode that I necessarily thought I was going to record right now, but it’s an episode that I think that we all kind of need in case of an emergency. And, in fact, it’s all about how we can make sure we’re prioritizing what we need when emergencies pop up. And these can be big or small. 

To give you an example, if you’ve been following along with me on Instagram, just a few weeks ago, we had to rush our one and a half year old to the hospital. He was missing lots of blood. We had to go in for emergency surgery. It was rough. I’m happy to say that three days later, he was back in school and didn’t think anything happened. However, I still haven’t recovered yet, a couple of weeks later. 

And not only that, like big emergencies, but even small ones. I sat down to finally record a podcast episode, and my desktop and our older laptop, just refuse to work anymore. And so in all cases, no matter what level of emergency you have, there are these feelings of dread and overwhelm and getting behind. 

I need to let you know that there is a simple way to make sure that you feel confident with what is happening, how it’s happening, and that you don’t need to stress yourself out with these so-called background emergencies. 

These are the things that we perceive to be an emergency, even though we have bigger things to deal with. Also, side note, you might hear some background noise while I’m recording because I did need to get a new computer. I’m still trying to figure things out. My husband is watching my kids upstairs, because sometimes in case of emergency, you just do what you can when you can, and you have to give up a little bit of their perfectionism. 

This is going to be a slightly different version of an episode. I’m not going to run you through different ways that you can apply this in all aspects of your life. I’m just going to cover the big three ideas to keep in mind in case of emergency. 

Step One – The Main Thing

Step one is actually a very well known productivity principle, and it is that you’re going to keep the main thing, the main thing. That means that you have one main thing that you’re prioritizing, you’re focusing on, you’re putting your energy towards. And in an emergency, it is probably going to be something related to that emergency. 

Now your brain is going to try to be helpful. Is it helpful, though? I don’t think so. Because what it’s doing, is it’s going to say wait, my habit in my routine is to make the grocery list. It’s to change over the laundry. Have we vacuumed lately? Did you go pick up that gift for the birthday party this weekend? Your brain is going to run through all those things because it thinks it’s helping. So sometimes you just need to say out loud, when you need to reprioritize, tell yourself, tell yourself that “My priority is staying here in the hospital with Calvin, everything else is going to have to wait.” I repeated that phrase probably hourly, for the first day we were in the hospital, because my brain was going crazy. But once I say that out loud, and other people can hear me,can acknowledge it, and know what’s going on in my scope of the world, then my brain and everybody else quiet down. 

Now I know that sometimes that is way easier said than done. But if you are feeling overwhelmed in an emergency, then you need to take a deep breath, and say…my main thing is…and just fill in the blank and let everything else fall to the side. Because in that instance, you cannot manage more. 

Step Two – Delegating

The second step is actually just a step in our to do list management. And we’ve talked about it before, but it’s delegating. In an emergency, sometimes the biggest thing you can do is share that you are in an emergency. 

You may not need to disclose any information. You may just need to say, “I need help figuring some things out.” Or “I need help with somebody picking up my kids from school. I can explain later, but please can somebody help me?” 

In my case, what I did is, because I use Facebook as a way to inform my family and my dear friends all at once, I posted a Facebook status and I said, “Calvin is in the ER, we are monitoring him. He was getting lots of blood. There’s lots of things going on. Just keeping you updated.” And I had a flood of people asking what they could do. People I barely knew. My new neighbors who said hi do maybe three times, were asking if they could pick dinner up for my kids. The lady who helps watch my oldest daughter before school, asked if she could pick them up from school for me, and hold on to them until we figured out what else we needed to do. My mother in law and my father in law drove in two and a half hours to take care of the older kids. And everybody was coming together, wanting to help. 

It is not worth your energy to fight the fact they want to help. If you need to get groceries done. If you need someone to watch your kids. If you need someone to let your dog out. Maybe just suck it up and list those things out on social media and say, “This is what I need. Can somebody please help me?” Because in that moment, if it was your best friend who was stuck in the hospital with a sick kid, you would want to do anything you could do. So let people be helpers. They want to do it for you. Delegate those things out and clear your brain of that again, so you can focus back on the main thing. 

Step Three – The Aftermath

Now the third part to this is really the aftermath. No matter what an outcome is, at some point, there is a return to normalcy. Thankfully, in our case, it was just getting all of our kids back to their daycare and school and kind of returning to that pattern. But there were things that were completely forgotten or forgone in the four days we were in the hospital. And when we returned, it wasn’t like we had just four days of free time to go back and do all those things over again.

When coming out of the emergency state, you need to make sure that you feel confident in stair stepping your way out. We are not taking an escalator getting everything done at once. You need to see what you are capable of handling and managing in whatever emotion you have.

I know after my mom died, there were a lot of months of stair stepping my way out of certain pitfalls. After we got out of the hospital, I still haven’t put all of my laundry away from three weeks ago. But you know what, I’m returning step by step into the routines and the habits. And as I find those extra little pockets of time, which is my whole goal of productivity and efficiency, I’m trying to create these extra pockets of time for myself. And sometimes I still need to take those pockets of time and just relax, read a book, go to sleep early, so I can recover. 

But in other instances, what feels right is in those little pockets of time I’ve created for myself, is to maybe do an extra load of dishes. Is to maybe go ahead and do an extra thing of laundry. Maybe it’s to go ahead and start planning ahead for my daughter’s birthday party. I’m taking those extra pockets to stair step back into our normal pattern in normal routine, and only accomplishing what I can handle in the moment. 

Smaller Emergencies

For smaller emergencies these steps still work. I know that I kind of gave the sort of extreme cases here, but people also are living through those extremes on a regular basis, unfortunately. 

Now, the smaller emergency example that I have is just a couple of weeks ago, when I tried to go record a podcast, and both of my recording options for computers had just literally up and caputs on me. And this is a much smaller emergency, but still categorized as an emergency, in my brain nonetheless. And these three steps are still going to work for that. 

Step One – The Main Thing

So the first step is making the main thing, the main thing. In that moment, my main thing was seeing if I could figure out a solution. I could not fix the computers, I tried it. So then my main thing became figuring out how I can get a new computer. In those steps, it caused me to have to sit back and relax. I couldn’t focus on trying to revive computers for two hours. Instead, my main thing was, well, it’s not working, what can I control? I can’t do anything tonight. I’m gonna go to sleep, and then wake up the next morning, try to tackle the new plan of getting a new computer…which by the way, I love my new computer, so I’m happy with the outcome. 

Step Two – Delegating

But then the second step is sharing that you are in an “emergency” so that people can help delegating those tasks out that you need covered. Well, I shared in the Podcasting for Educators Facebook group (that’s where I learned to start podcasting), and I said, “Well, I guess this is happening to me. I don’t really know what to do. Any suggestions? Has anybody encountered this?” And you know, I had people reaching out offering to like, take and post my podcast episodes for me if I could figure out how to record them and get them to them. They would do it. They were trying to troubleshoot for me. They were trying to help in their own way. 

Now, is this the same thing as making sure my two older kids are taken care of? No, but it’s the same exact step. Working on large scale and small scale emergencies. 

Step Three – Stair Stepping Out of the Situation

And then step three is stair stepping my way out of the situation. So now I have my new computer all set up. And I need to get back to normalcy into a normal routine for what is happening this whole time. 

The emergency caused me to miss podcast episodes. And I could either stair step by ignoring that fact, and just continuing on. Knowing that I’ve acknowledged it several places, and I’m just working on trying to return as I can. Or, my version of stair stepping is, recording while my kids are awake, stomping around upstairs, so that I can put out the content that I think is going to help people. Because that is going to make me feel the biggest return to normalcy, if I can still get the episodes out that I wanted to get out. I’m stair stepping in a different way. I might be losing sleep. I might be drinking a cold brew at 1:17 in the afternoon, but I feel like I’m getting back. 

And so in all cases, emergencies can be taken care of just by a couple steps. And once you’re out of it, you just have to give yourself grace, so that you can return to the way that you know you need to operate. And it doesn’t have to be right away. It can be nice and slow. Or you can record three episodes the day before they come out, edit them and post them. And, you know, to each their own. Whatever works for you. I have that capability right now because this emergency was not that big. 

Take a deep breath. Know that there are people there for you. Know that you will get through it, and know that nothing is as important as whatever main thing you need to focus on. If you ever need help figuring out what that is, shoot me a DM over at @engineerdoeseducation on Instagram, and I will stop, drop and help you out. Until next time. 


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Keywords: emergency, stair step, computer, normal routine, prioritizing, delegating