KuelLife Logo home 1000

Tackle The Big Picture – Piece By Piece

Gayle Petrillo July 2020

Career Kuel Category Expert: Gayle Petrillo

It’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially given all that our country is experiencing.

The pandemic has created isolation for so many of us. And, as we start to venture out, we have a new term and way of socializing – social distancing. Some of us added home-schooling our kids and working from home to our typical ongoing tasks of shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. Did I mention our pets? That’s another whole piece of the puzzle. So we are juggling more than ever before, in a different way, in a new world. Our new ‘normal’.

A Bite At A Time

“there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time”

Desmond Tutu once wisely said that “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” What he meant by this is that everything in life that seems daunting, overwhelming, and even impossible can be accomplished gradually by taking on just a little at a time.

I have found my own analogy. This winter, as the stay home advisories went into place, I started working on jigsaw puzzles.

I’ve been working from home for about 3 years now, so that wasn’t new for me. What was new, was not being able to meet friends, colleagues and (prospective) clients in person. No more visits to coffee houses. No more lunches or happy hours at our favorite haunts. And, no more dinners out with my hubby of 40 years. We started creating menus and cooking in every night. Al usually cooks. However, I found it was a stress reliever for me to identify new recipes, prep, and cook; using many of our appliances that had been dormant for a while (the blender, food processor, waffle iron, and more). And, the more I cooked, the more we’ve enjoyed trying new things.

Zoom Days

My days are now filled with Zoom meetings, hours during each day. I’ve never spent so much time in front of my computer. I am meeting clients virtually, participating in board and committee meetings, attending networking functions, and watching webinars and other presentations, for coffee, breakfast, lunch and happy hours.

I’m finding that I’m feeling overwhelmed more than I was in the past. The news is disheartening, whether it’s politics, racial unrest, the coronavirus, and its accumulated numbers of affected, hospitalized and deceased, and on it goes.

Taking A Breather

Pretty quickly, I started to see pieces jumping out at me.”

So, as I took a breather the other day, I left my home office/spare bedroom, and made my way to the dining room. I started a new puzzle, and as I spread the 500 pieces on a card table, I felt overwhelmed. Why had I started a new puzzle? After all, I had just finished one. It’s relaxing I told myself. Hell no, I said to no one. Not today. Rather than walking away, knowing I needed a break from my computer; I looked at the puzzle for a few minutes. Pretty quickly, I started to see pieces jumping out at me. I searched for specific colors. The red roof and wood for the covered bridge structure. Within minutes I had a great start. I walked away with a lighter feeling and relief.

As I sat back at my computer, I was ready to get back to work and looked forward to finishing up my workday and tackling the defrosting scallops in the refrigerator.

My take-away and maybe it will help you – life is like a puzzle. Tackle everything on your plate (figuratively) in small segments and give yourself a thumbs up as you accomplish little pieces of the bigger things you need to get done. Recognize when you need some ‘me’ time and do something for yourself. Your life and those around you will appreciate what you can offer.

Did you enjoy this article? Become a Kuel Life Member today to support our ad-free Community. Sign-up for our Sunday newsletter and get your expert content delivered straight to your inbox.

About The Author:
Gayle Petrillo is President of First Impressions, Image Consulting. Gayle is an image consultant working with both businesses and individuals. Her services include: customer service training; team building skills; secret shopper services; gossip avoidance techniques; closet analysis; wardrobe transformations, personal shopping; employment coaching; and presentation skills. You can find Gayle at First Impressions Image Consulting.