On being overwhelmed


This weekend I came across an email that I’d printed out from my BFF Marilyn on June 20, 2011. I didn’t save the email I’d written to her first but clearly I was overwhelmed and asking for her advice on how to cope with everything coming at me.

PGB had opened 2 months earlier. I’d just received an offer to open a 2nd store in First Canadian Place. And every waking moment, Andrew and I were thinking and breathing “Prairie Girl”. It was around this time that the point of sale system crashed and I called Andrew in a panic. He was in a big meeting. He left the room, ran down the street to the store, fixed the system and ran back, all in about 20 minutes. His grumpy boss looked up at him as he sat down.

“Where the hell did you go?”

“Had to take a call”.


Anyway, that was the context to Marilyn’s email. Six years later, I agree with her. The worst thing to do in an overwhelming time is to look past today; the best thing to do is the next item on the to-do list.

Here it is:

“Pep talky stuff:

Try not to think about the enormity of stuff. Just do the little tasks ahead of you each day. On FCP. if you decide to do it, don’t think, “oh this will be so much work”. Again, just do the assigned tasks for each day and the big stuff will take care of itself.

As for balance – nope you may not have any right now but who cares. You have had balance before and you will eventually get there again. And who cares about the little stuff you feel like you “should” be doing like cooking meals, having guests etc etc. It is what it is and that’s just unnecessary to think about (and not worthwhile).

Ok, that’s my pep talk”.


About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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