Stress Hack: Does It Have to Be Done Well Or Does It Just Have to Be Done?

Stress Hack
Stress Hack

Illness or not, it’s easy to get overwhelmed particularly if you have a lot of things to do.  One question I’ve been asking myself lately that has helped me with stress is, “Does this have to be done well or does it just have to be done?”  This gives me a lot of clarity.  Some tasks require expediency more than others.  For instance, I had a crisis at work and needed to have a Skype meeting with a colleague.  I woke up feeling tired that morning and wasn’t sure if I had time to shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed before the call.  I thought to myself:  This person knows me real well.  On my Christmas cards list, I have three categories: personal, professional, and both.  This coworker qualified as both–the in between area in the Venn Diagram.  Personal cards end with “Love, Jessica” whereas professional cards usually end with “Regards, Jessica.”  This friend knows me!  She knows I have five illnesses and she also knows what it’s like to be fatigued.  She doesn’t expect to see me dressed up, with makeup and hair in place.  Are there instances when it is inappropriate to attend a Skype call in my pajamas with my curly hair a mess?  Sure, but this was not one of them.  Knowing that I didn’t have to put effort into getting ready meant I could put my limited energy–physical and emotional–elsewhere that day.  I just took my computer out and went to the Skype call.

When I’m working on a task–writing an email, making lesson plans, or making reservations (even a phone call to a restaurant can be stressful when you’re in pain, fatigued, or depressed)–I ask myself if something has to be done well or just done.  If it needs to be done, I give myself guidelines like:

  • When is the deadline?  Is the situation urgent?
  • Set a time limit (ex: I will only work on this for 10 minutes) – For people with chronic illnesses, time is energy.  Expending more time than necessary on a task means I have less energy for other tasks.
  • How difficult is this task? – The time you spend on a task should be proportionate to its difficulty.  For example, writing an email asking my former boss for a letter of recommendation should take up more time than responding to a funny email from my best friend. One is harder than the other.  The words I use in the former email require more precision than the latter.

Upon re-evaluating my life with that question, “Does it have to be done well or does it just have to be done,” I’ve become more productive and a little less stressed out.

What do you do when you have too many things to do?

–Your Stylist, Jessica Gimeno


Hi, I have five illnesses--bipolar disorder, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular autoimmune disease), endometriosis, asthma, and psoriasis. Most of the organs in my body are affected. I'm dedicated to being a stylist for sick women. As someone who has experienced changes in my appearance due to my 12 meds (including Prednisone), I know how hard it can be when your face and body change overnight. (In fact, because of treatment, between 2008 to 2010, I went from a size 0 to a size 10. While I lost the weight, there are permanent changes in my face and body, which I've grown to appreciate.) My blog will also help women deal with other issues like surviving chronic pain and fatigue. Healthy people can also use this blog as a window into what life with illness is like. Let this website be a place where we can draw strength from each other despite our illnesses and find solutions to our everyday challenges!

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