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Dealing with Stress Like Your Life Depends On It

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Business
Dealing with Stress Like Your Life Depends On It

It seems that we all spend an enormous amount time trying to avoid what we feel. Every other commercial on TV or the Internet is designed to take us away from what is happening to us. Have a headache? Take this. Overwhelmed? Talk to your doctor about this new medication. Stressed? Get away to our great vacation destination. But everyone of these strategies are about avoiding what is happening to us. Although some avoidance can be a positive exercise, we can’t get away from everything that stresses us out. So, what are we supposed to do?

When we allow ourselves to pay attention to what is happening, both internally and externally, it gives us the ability to look at things in a new way. If we get curious about the sensations in our body, our thoughts and judgments going through our head, the emotions we feel, and the environment these all exit in, we can assess what is happening vs. just reacting to it. That pause, to key into ourselves, allows us to make decisions about what is needed in the moment.

One of the problems I often see is that we know what we need (to eat, to rest, to play, to be creative) but we deny ourselves these things because there are always more pressing things to do. We focus on the “to do” list and we become so enslaved to it that we put taking care of ourselves last on that list every time. We begin to glean our self-worth from how much me do and how productive we are. We wear our exhaustion like a badge of honor becoming “Human Doings” instead of “Human Beings.”

I still remember a time when we went to work from 9-5. When we arrived home, we did not engage in our work again until the next day. There was time for recreation, time for family, time of hobbies, time to just play with the kids and time to rest. But, our 21st century lives don’t work that way. We are expected to be available to our jobs nights, weekends, and holidays. There is no break because the workday never ends. And the things that are designed to keep us resilient get pushed aside.

As we continue to operate this way, is it any wonder that stress related illness is out of control? Our bodies can only take so much before they will let us know they are at the breaking point. Ignoring the signs can make us literally sick, or worse.

I believe that getting clear about what is happening to us is not just something helpful to do, but vital to our health, well-being, and ultimately our survival. It is not optional any more. We must cultivate things in our lives that gives us resiliency to combat the stress we encounter every day. Those things can include rest, creativity, music, meditation, yoga, sport, recreation, nature, pets, volunteerism, and activism. When we make time in our lives for the things that matter, that things that are difficult get better. It is a practice, like any other Mindfulness practice. But without it, the stress of our lives can overtake us and rob us of any joy in our lives, leaving us resentful and bitter.

It is so important. Make the time. It is not optional. Engage in it like your life depends on it, because it does!

How Often Do You Find Yourself Running Out of Time Part 2

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How Often Do You Find Yourself Running Out of Time Part 2

time2

For many, it seems that there’s just never enough time in the day to get everything done. Are you one of them?

Did You Take the Time Management Quiz in Part 1? (YOU NEED TO PUT IN THE RIGHT LINK)
What was your score? What elements of time management do you need to work on? Here are the top five with suggestions on how to master them.

1. Goal Setting (Questions 6, 10, 14, 15)
To start managing time effectively, you need to set goals. When you know where you’re going, you can then figure out what exactly needs to be done, in what order. Without proper goal setting, you’ll fritter your time away on a confusion of conflicting priorities. Yes, it does take time and effort initially. Isn’t it worth it if it gets you on the right track and not get sidetracked?

2. Prioritization (Questions 1, 4, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15)
Most people have a “to-do” list of some sort. The problem with many of these lists is they are just a collection of things that need to get done. There is no rhyme or reason to the list and you go from one task to another.  Furthermore you may be working on the wrong things – the in the face urgent vs. the strategic important. So how do you work on To Do List tasks – top down, bottom up, easiest to hardest?

 3. Managing Interruptions (Questions 5, 9, 11, 12)
Having a plan and knowing how to prioritize it is one thing. The next issue is knowing what to do to minimize the interruptions you face during your day. As a manager you get phone calls, information requests, questions from employees, and a whole host of events that crop up unexpectedly. Some do need to be dealt with immediately, but others need to be managed to minimize your interrupted time.

 4. Procrastination (Questions 2, 10, 12)
“I’ll get to it later” has led to the downfall of many a good manager. After too many “laters”, the work piles up so high that any task seems insurmountable. Procrastination is as tempting as it is deadly. The best way to beat it is to recognize that you do indeed do it. Then you need to figure out why. Perhaps you are afraid of failing? (And some people are actually afraid of success!) 

 5. Scheduling (Questions 3, 7, 12)
Much of time management comes down to effective scheduling of your time. When you know what your goals and priorities are, you then need to know how to go about creating a schedule that keeps you on track, and protects you from stress. You have to create a schedule that reflects your priorities and well as supports your personal goals plus leave room for the unexpected. Control your time and keep your life in balance by reading.

Smart Moves Tip
Time management is an essential skill that helps you keep your work under control and keeps stress to a minimum. Listen to Dana Phillips on The Business Edge (http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/68782/taking-the-pain-out-of-time-management/55117)  and get great tip, tools and techniques to “Take the Pain Out of Time Management!”

 

Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge  (http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2186/the-business-edge) on the Voice America Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, (http://www.leadersatalllevels.com/) brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.

How Often Do You Find Yourself Running Out of Time Part 1

Posted by Editor on
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Business
How Often Do You Find Yourself Running Out of Time Part 1

 

time

Weekly – daily – hourly? For many, it seems that there’s just never enough time in the day to get everything done.

When you know how to manage your time you gain control. Rather than busily working here, there, and everywhere (and not getting much done anywhere), effective time management helps you to choose what to work on and when. This is essential if you’re to achieve anything of any real worth.

Take this Quick Quiz
It will help you identify the aspects of time management that you need to improve. Decide, on a scale from 1 to 5, how well each of the 15 statements below best describes you. Answer questions as you actually are (rather than how you think you should be), and don’t worry if some questions seem to score in the ‘wrong direction’.

(1) Not at All             (2) Rarely        (3) Sometimes         (4) Often            (5) Very Often

1.  Are the tasks you work on during the day the ones with the highest priority?
2.  Do you find yourself completing tasks at the last minute, or asking for extensions?
3.  Do you set aside time for planning and scheduling?
4.  Do you know how much time you are spending on the various jobs you do?
5.  How often do you find yourself dealing with interruptions?
6.  Do you use goal setting to decide what tasks and activities you should work on?
7.  Do you leave contingency time in your schedule to deal with “the unexpected”?
8.  Do you know whether the tasks you are working on are high, medium, or low value?
9.  When you are given a new assignment, do you analyze it for importance and priority?
10. Are you stressed about deadlines and commitments?
11. Do distractions often keep you from working on critical tasks?
12. Do you find you have to take work home, in order to get it done?
13. Do you prioritize your “To Do” list or Action Program?
14. Do you regularly confirm your priorities with your boss?
15. Before you take on a task, do you check that the results will be worth the time put in?

Scoring:
46-75You’re managing your time very effectively! Still, check the next post to see if there’s anything you can tweak to make this even better.
31-45: You’re doing OK but there’s room for improvement. Focus on key principle of time management and you’ll most likely find that work becomes much less stressful.
15-30: Ouch. You got work to do. The good news is that by improving your time management skills you can improve your effectiveness at work and your long term success! However, to realize this, you need to start now. Don’t procrastinate!

Smart Moves Tip:

As you answered the questions, you probably had some insight into areas where your time management could use a pick-me-up. The follow-up post, part 2 (YOU NEED TO PUT IN THE RIGHT LINK), gives a quick summary of the main areas of time management that were explored in the quiz and resources you can use for each. Time management is an essential skill that helps you keep your work under control, at the same time that it helps you keep stress to a minimum. It’s working smarter!

 

Marcia Zidle, the smart moves executive coach and speaker, is host of The Business Edge  (http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2186/the-business-edge) on the Voice America Business Network. The show features the Smart Growth System providing small to medium sized businesses the proper foundation for expansion: a Growth Agenda that becomes their roadmap, a Growth Engine that attracts and engages the best talent and Growth Leaders that make it happen. Marcia, the CEO of Leaders At All Levels, (http://www.leadersatalllevels.com/) brings street smarts to help businesses get on the right track and not get sidetracked on their path to higher performance and profitability.

 

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