“Email is relentless. There’s no break. You’re on this treadmill. You’re trying to stay on top of your email, which really means staying on top of the tasks that you’re being asked to do on email, but then you keep getting more and more email which represents more and more tasks.”
“Our minds are hardwired to worry.”
Getting exercise, listening to music, eating right, and building your relationships are just a few habits to help you ride the (inevitable) waves of work stress.
Habit has been called the invisible architecture of our lives. Often, though, the design’s more busy than minimalist.
It’s against (and possibly with) this chaos that Leo Babauta founded Zen Habits, his full-time blog “about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives.”
Here are two tips on how to fight stress today:
The beginning of the day is ripe for action. What the most successful people do before breakfast is a topic of great discussion—and some productivity experts argue that you need to get through your routine as fast as possible. Babuata goes in the other direction: Instead of the stressful rush, he opts for calm ritual.
What does stress make you do? Babauta notes a familiar range of reactions, from getting angry, feeling overwhelmed, jumping into action, or wishing things were different. Rather than trying to attack that response, Babauta says that we should watch it, one of the cornerstones of mindfulness. If we learn to watch the responses we can then, slowly, learn how to organically change them (and become more effective leaders).
"Just wash your bowl. Just walk. Just talk to someone. Just read one article or book, without switching. Just write. Just do your email, one at a time, until your inbox is empty. You’ll learn that there is peace in just doing one thing, and letting go of everything else."
Here are more tips in the post The 7 Habits of Calmness
- Make it your responsibility to decide what matters, and when to get it done—no one else is going to determine or prioritize it for you.
- Don’t keep separate work and personal calendars or priority lists. (Fast Company likes Clear, if you need an app.)
- Frequently take stock of what’s working and what’s not—because it’s always changing. Put that on your calendar.
- Schedule time for small, manageable steps in the areas of their life they’ve identified as important instead of just identifying huge, lofty goals.
- Focus on and celebrate what does get done, not what falls by the wayside—small or partial steps are better than nothing.
[Image: Flickr user Joe Plocki]
Ready, Set, Pause
How’s your Tuesday? If it’s like ours, you’re busy- rushing to a meeting, wondering where to start on the big project that you probably should have started yesterday- stressed.
First, breath. Then check out this technique that just might help you make it through to hump day.
[Image:Flickr user phill.d]
In 2005, Rebecca Tomsyck left her psychiatrist practice in Charlotte, North Carolina, and joined the Army. She was 53.
"In Iraq we were mortared an awful lot, but I wasn’t afraid because I came to realize that I had zero control over what happened. Once I recognized that, there was an element of peace that accompanied that. I got to that place pretty quickly in Iraq, and I recreated it pretty quickly in Afghanistan."