Stress has been a part of my life for a long time. It’s an unhealthy relationship where I haven no control over my life. It’s time for me to figure out what is scaring me and what to do about it.
Being An Airhead
Stress comes from the fear that I am forgetting something. I made a commitment to finish a project by an agreed-upon deadline and I forgot about it until it’s too late. I forgot the movie tickets at the house and I’ve already drive three miles away from the house. I keep forgetting all the tasks that I wanted to do today. I scramble around looking for a pen and paper and try to write down all the things I wanted to do from memory. I hope I remembered everything.
Promises Made, Unmade
Stress comes from breaking my promises to myself, my family, my colleagues, and my friends. I’ve let them all down. I agreed to do something and I didn’t honor the agreement when I said “yes.” I’m just the scatter-brained person who can’t be relied upon.
My Task Manager No Longer Matches Reality
Stress comes from my task manager when I don’t curate it enough. The projects and tasks stored inside the task manager non longer reflects the current state of reality. I can’t trust my task manager because I don’t know what is happening with my projects.
My Calendar Woes
Stress comes from my calendar when I miss appointments and paying a penalty (late library books, disappointed friends who think I snubbed them, or possible business opportunities that slip past me).
My Schedule is Overbooked
Stress comes from my schedule when I overbook my appointments. I don’t have enough buffer time between projects. I didn’t have enough time to move between meetings and prepare for the next presentation.
No Control Over My Agenda
Sometimes I don’t have control over my time. I have the idea of a perfect day and I have to throw it out the window. Emergencies, interruptions, or outside pressure (an emergency job sent by the boss or the wife) suddenly takes precedence.
Action Items: Removing Stress by Regaining Control
Being An Airhead - I capture everything now. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. I no longer get stressed from not remembering if I was supposed to do something or not.
Promises Made, Unmade - I treasure my integrity. Don’t write a check your @$$ can’t cash. I don’t want to let my friends and colleagues down. If something is important, I’ll remember. It goes into my task manager. I process my inboxes and turn promises into next actions or projects inn my task manager.
My Task Manager No Longer Matches Reality - I perform review at the end of each workday. I follow up one projects and tasks, update my task manager, and revise. An event will occur and it changes the next actions for my projects. I update my projects’ next actions to reflect what is happening in real life.
My Schedule Is Overbooked - I make time by spacing out my appointments. I need time in between major meetings to prepare for the next meeting. I make space around my appointments to complete some tasks. I also include downtime to help me recharge throughout the day.
No Control Over My Agenda - Sometimes things won’t go my way. I need to make room for something called life. $#!T happens sometimes. I roll with punches. I contact the people around me who will be affected, explain my current situation, and see if I can renegotiate my promises. Most of the time, the people around you will understand and will accommodate you. If it can’t be renegotiated, that’s life. I’ll try to do the best I can to catch up.
What Do You Do?
I am trying other techniques but I’m not quite comfortable explaining it yet.
One tactic is to try some meditation. Take some time out of my day, take ten deep breaths, and relax. We can’t always be in 5th gear. We need to slow down sometimes. Then we can shift gears back up to speed.
What have you done to take back control of your busy/crazy life?