Tag Archive: stress

Given the current state of things, the average worker is experiencing heavier work loads and added responsibility. It’s more important now than it has been in the past to manage yourself effectively.  Given that scenario, focus has to be on getting more done with fewer resources. It’s important to get to the top priorities, manage time and projects, empower and keep yourself  from burning out.

The challenge is that  we have too much to do.  Even our children have too much to do these days.  The key to getting past having too much to do is to determine what things are worthy of your time.  Before you can decide what things are worth your time, you have to know what your values are.  Look at every area of your life and think about the things that are important to you and create a list, then use that list when you are deciding what things are worth your time.  If you choose to place things on your agenda that are in line with your values, you are more likely to accomplish goals that you set around those things than you would be if they weren’t values based.  When you base what you do upon the things that are important to you, you are placing the focus on personal balance, which has to be your first priority.

A vital factor in managing workflow effectively is having an organized environment.  Whether you work in a company office or your office at home, it must be organized.  Think about the stress involved, not to mention the extra time it takes, when you simply can’t find something.  Now,  it may take a number of hours to get an environment completely organized, but it’s time well spent and it will keep you from wasting time in the future looking for that particular file or what ever it might be.  With your environment organized, you’ll be able to access what you need in a matter of seconds.

In addition to your values and getting organized,  be sure to set time to schedule and plan your week and your day.  At the end of one week, sit down and plan for the next and do the same thing each day.  At the end of your day, look to see what you have set for the next day.  There may be some adjustments that you have to make to your schedule because something was canceled or perhaps there is something that needs to be added.  If a task is going to take longer than 15 minutes to complete, it should go into your calendar and not just on your to-do list.  If it doesn’t go into your calendar, you take the risk of something not getting done that day and the added stress that comes with the day being upset.

Distractions and interruptions will disrupt your flow.  Turn off the email notification, or better yet, close your email while you’re working on other things.  For those hours that you’re working on top priorities, turn off the ringer on the phone or place it on do not disturb.  If someone transfers calls to you, ask for your calls to be transferred into your voice mail and check them later in the day.  If necessary, close your office door for a while so that you can focus on what you’re doing.  Constant interruptions can destroy your concentration and cause added stress.

Finally, you have to keep your well being a priority.  During the course of your day, no matter how busy you are, you have to take breaks to stretch, take a short walk and make time to eat right.  Nothing that you have to do can be more important than your well being.  Even if you implemented each of the aforementioned in managing your workflow, things won’t flow smoothly if you don’t incorporate your well being.  It is a key factor in making it all flow.

With the fast pace at which we all move and the multiple hats we all wear, it’s easy to have what seems like and endless number of things to do.  The demands on our time being what they are make it even more important to be organized and on top of your game.

Having a to-do list to help manage the many things on your agenda is a key factor in the game.  If you’re using one effectively on a regular basis, you’re someone who’s committed to productivity.  If you don’t have a to-do list, chances are that you are overwhelmed by the amount of things you have to do and may be forgetting important things.  If this is the case, consider what having and effectively using a to-do list will do for you:

  • All of your tasks are in one place and prioritized
  • You can clearly see what needs to be done
  • Prioritizing keeps you on track
  • You are organized, and more efficient
  • You’re not stressed by unimportant tasks
  • Your complete, prioritized to-do list drives your time management system

Without a solid to-do list you lack focus and you’re not as efficient or reliable to those around you.  If you have a to-do list, is it doing these things for you?  If not, chances are that it’ s not up to date, contains old, unfinished items and you don’t update it on a regular basis as part of a time management system.

If this is true and you’re ready to whip things into shape, start by getting the old items off of the list.  Apply one of the three D’s: get them done, delegate them or delete them altogether.  Add to your list all of the things that you have to do, then prioritize them.  I suggest that you also categorize them as well so that you can easily locate tasks and make updates to the list.  For example, some of the categories that I have are: personal, business development, products, health, etc.  Categorize your tasks in a way that works for you. If a task is going to take you longer than 15 minutes to do, create a block of time in your calendar.

Besides the key factors of containing all of your tasks and being prioritized, your to-do list has to be part of a time management system that contains a time management tool that fits your personality, an organized home or work space and established effective habits.  All the key elements of this system keep you from struggling and being busy with the unimportant, urgent things and take you to a place where you’re focused on what’s important and not urgent, which are the ideal tasks that you want to have on your list.  You’re organized, in control and on top of your game.

I’m continuing to read through Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and chapter 19, entitled “Lower Your Tolerance to Stress” makes the observation that our society tends to look up to people who are under a great deal of stress; those who can handle a great deal of pressure.  Dr. Carlson also makes the observation that our current level of stress will be exactly that of our tolerance to stress. He says,  “You’ll notice that the people who say, ‘I can handle lots of stress’,  will always be under a great deal of it!”

What we have to do to help eliminate stress from our lives is to lower the level of tolerance that we have for it.  Typically we’re taught to raise our level of tolerance to stress, which in turn, adds to the stress that we experience.  What we have to do is catch ourselves; start to notice our stress before it gets out of hand.  Once it gets out of hand it’s too late and we can start to spiral out of control at that point.  When we get to the point where our schedules are full to overflowing, that’s when we need to stop, relax and regroup.  This way, our stress doesn’t gain the momentum it needs to have us become totally stressed out.  If we adopt a “no tolerance” policy for stress and get in the habit of noticing it when it’s small, we defuse it and maintain control, instead of being in the downward spiral ready to crash and burn.

Yesterday I was given the gift of a book (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff) from Tara Michener, Founder of the Black Women In Business Brainstorm.  Great gift! The first chapter that I chose to read was “Set Aside Quite Time Every Day”.  In that chapter, Dr. Richard Carlson makes the point that we all need to get our own quiet time every day.

Carlson says, “I can’t think of a single person whom I would consider to be inwardly peaceful who doesn’t carve out at least a little quiet time, virtually every day…like spending time alone, it helps to balance the noise and confusion that infiltrate much of our day.”

No matter what we have on our plate, we have to get in our quiet time or it makes life a bit more hectic, not to mention stressful.  Along with the things that you place in your calendar during your regular planning, make sure to add some time for you as well as quiet time.  It can be morning meditation, time in the evening before turning in for the night, a walk by yourself early in the morning or late evening or what ever you choose.  The important thing is that you make it a part of every day.  It will contribute to your productivity.  It’s a small step that you can take to make a big difference in your life.

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