There’s one of those ah-ha moments attached to this story.
For days, or if truth be told, weeks, I’d struggled to get everything done. It seems that every night, I’d look at my to-do list and move all the items that I didn’t get to, onto a fresh list for the next day. Somehow, instead of the list shrinking, it was growing longer!
Late one evening, I was trying to do “one more thing,” so that I’d finish that list. The problem is that I was dead tired. In my tired state, I was somehow able to drop a plate into the dishwasher I was just starting to empty and it shattered a number of dishes as it fell. As tried to fish out all the glass and clean up the mess, my husband gently led me away.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “It will all be there tomorrow.”
“But, I don’t want it to be there tomorrow,” I said with a wail.
It was definitely an “is your glass half-empty or half-full” moment. His consolation was right on the money. It, meaning the things you are too tired to do, will indeed be there tomorrow. In fact, the sun will come up, the birds will chirp and you might even feel up to the task you are putting off.
Developing a healthy attitude about workloads and home chores might just save you from stress and burnout. In fact, a healthy respect for yourself will actually lead you to do your best and most creative work.
The more you can work on a routine that allows you to be off-duty, the more rested you are. The more rested you are, the better you will function.
Creating routines and an environment that allows relaxation is indeed a key to productivity. Here are some of my favorite tips.
My husband, the positive thinker in this story, saw a different message in the tale I just told. I saw the negativity- meaning I’d have to get up and face that chore again. His positive attitude was in direct opposition. He saw tomorrow as an opportunity!
Waking up and facing the day with a positive attitude is a great way to de-stress. Everyone is familiar with “Debbie Downer,” the Saturday Night Live character that always finds the worst in each situation. If you’ve been in a room with a person like that, you know how fast the atmosphere changes.
When you allow yourself to be the Debbie Downer, it brings you down. The more down you are, the more stressed you will feel. Instead, try for a major attitude adjustment. See challenges as opportunities.
Plan in Play
Do you golf? Love a game of Apples to Apples?
No matter what your favorite leisure activity is, you need to plan it in your week. It is really easy to fill up your entire week with work, chores, errands and to-do list items. You know the saying about all work and no play? It’s true. You are just not a fun person when your life is all work.
Sit down with your calendar and block out time for something fun once a week.
There’s one way to get on a vicious cycle. That’s when you think that you don’t have time for exercise so you continue to do everything but exercise. Then you get sick and you can’t do anything at all.
Plan some workouts. Get out and walk. Take a yoga class. Swim laps. Do something for yourself by getting some exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, any form of exercise is a stress reliever.
Don’t bring work or electronics to bed. Read a book, magazine or newspaper. Even read on your tablet. But, make your reading material fresh news for your mind. Don’t be reading trade journals, how-to books and emails in bed. Allow your mind to rest from your work problems. A fresh mind is a creative one. A fresh mind is a rested one.
Stress and burnout seem to grow even bigger when multi-tasking. Your attention is so divided and that is taxing. It is a stress relief to focus on just one thing. Pick something to work on and let everything else go for the time being. Just work on that one thing and you will feel great when you are done.
Sometimes, we build stress by trying to keep too much in our heads. We recite our must-do items over and over so we don’t forget them. That in itself is stressful.
Find a calm, quiet spot and spend a bit of time getting organized. You’ve only got so many hours in the day. It isn’t possible to do everything at one time.
Begin by letting your mind wonder. Write down everything that comes to mind from home repairs to haircuts, from grocery lists to work projects. Try to purge all the must-do items from your mind and write them down.
Spend a few minutes and decide on priorities. Sometimes the priority is a looming deadline. Sometimes it is something that can be driving you nuts.
Make some new lists: do now, do later and delegate. Ask yourself what you can delegate or hire someone to do?