Monday, 23 February 2009

Bust Your Stress!

I’m going to start blogging some excerpts from my book. I thought this one was apt for a busy Monday; how to bust your stress….

Do you ever have one of those days when you wake up and think ‘how on earth am I going to get everything done?’ When you feel stressed, you know you have too much going on and lack the clarity to survive the chaos?

In my experience, there are two types of stress: good and bad. Stress when your life is rocking and rolling, you are juggling projects and play, busy and buzzy but life feels good. It’s mad, but you feel on top of it. At the end of a busy day you feel stimulated by everything.

Then there’s the other stress. That feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know you are under too much pressure. When that pressure feels unsustainable. And then – for the sake of your health and well being – you know you have to do something. You need to heed the warning signs, temporarily allow yourself to drop a few of the balls, to focus on the real priorities.

Remind yourself that some of the stuff that gets chucked your way can just wait; don’t drown in a sea of chaos. Sometimes you need to be tunnel-visioned to forget the 34 things on the to-do list and just worry about the 3 or 4 that have to get done before you go home tonight. Focus your energies there and you’ll have a more productive working day.

I looked at my schedule a few days ahead of a holiday. And I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to do everything in time. I asked myself 'are all these meetings critical now?’ Those that weren't, I cancelled. I’d created a false sense of chaos by putting too many meetings in at a time when I needed meeting-free days.

It’s easy to get in a panic. Don’t get in a cycle where you’re stressed about being stressed! I know this guy who’s always running around stressed; I feel stressed just watching him. When you break down his worries, they’re hardly tangible. So whatever you do, don't create your own stress, by getting in a flap.

Here’s a Stress-Busting checklist to deal with those panic moments:

1. Introduce a buffer to prevent you from getting too-stressed out. Remove – or lessen – the pressure on your week, cancel that social engagement, dump your weekend plans to just chill and you can manage your stress levels.
2. Break the projects down to its basics. Consider what’s important, what’s not important and formulate a plan to get through the next 24 hours or whatever. And that will give you clarity and help you juggle.
3. Put things in perspective. Ask yourself, 'if this doesn't happen now, what's the worst thing that can happen?'
4. If you are suffering to-do list anxiety, set your alarm for 5am one day or spend a Saturday morning ploughing through actions and ticking them off with no interruptions. Its remarkable how much you can get done and also you can then approach Monday morning with clarity and a sense of being on top of stuff.

And if you are still struggling with everything and it’s all getting too much, then:


> PAUSE (that’s the important bit)

> REVIEW the to-do list

> SHOUT ‘Enough’ and raise the drawbridge!

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