In this day and age, overwhelm and stress are unfortunately becoming the norm, especially in the business world. Too many people are working too hard and spending so much time in meetings that are often a waste of time. People need to take control back over their time.
There are some tricks I’ve learned over the years that can help to reduce overwhelm and stress.
1. Plan for buffer time
Buffer time is adding 15 to 30 minutes before and after meetings so that you have time to travel, prepare, and follow up. If you don’t give yourself that buffer time, you’ll either push it all to the end of the day—when you are most likely more tired—or even into the evening, which will cut into your family and what is supposed to be down time. It’s harder these days because we are connected 24/7. I’ve seen countries such as France now put regulations into place that a company cannot send emails outside of working hours. This is a good thing! Using the buffer time, you’ll have extra time to catch up on other things if you don’t need all of that time so give yourself that little gift each day!
2. Good enough is good enough
Perfectionism will kill you! It will keep you stuck in one place for a long time! Nothing is ever going to be 100% so if you can get it to 80 or 90% then you’re doing great! You can either improve on things as you go along or just know that you are moving forward continually. What is your definition of good enough will most likely be great for others—they do NOT know your level of perfectionism! So leave that behind and just get the ball rolling. If it’s meant to be improved upon once you are at the good enough point, you’ll get the feedback to make the changes necessary. The key is to just get going and keep moving forward.
3. Work less hours
This is an interesting concept. No matter what time we allocate to a project or to our day, we will fill it. So if you make a decision to work less hours, guess what most likely will end up happening? You’ll be far more efficient and productive in the time given! I recently came across an article saying that people over 40 should only work three days a week! With the tsunami of technological change heading our way in the next decade, I do believe that our ways of working will be changing dramatically. Jobs will disappear, many more will be created…and I believe the key to feeling fulfilled with work will be doing work that is aligned with your passions and purpose. So focus on doing what you love, your strengths, and doing it in less time to create a good balance in your work life. Use the extra time to enhance your life by spending more time with your family and loved ones, exercising, having fun, and doing things you love to do!
4. Write a NOT To-Do list
Any successful busy person has a long to-do list that they are busy checking off. But sometimes it might be good to have an awareness of the things you should NOT be doing or the things you simply don’t want to do. What are the things that are wasting your time or draining your energy? Can you delegate them to someone else? Or better yet, eliminate them completely? One of the things that have naturally fallen away in my life is watching TV. It is a complete time drainer. I’m at the point now where I don’t even own a TV or have one in my home! There are many things you can put on this type of a list and once you write it down, you’ll be much more aware to make sure you are not doing these things! Consider this an experiment and see what happens in your life as a result.
5. Enjoy the moments
The more present we can be each day, with all the small moments in time, the more gratitude and joy we can experience. As a mother of children that are about to “leave the nest” soon, I can definitely say that time has gone by so quickly! I’m trying to slow it down now just by being more conscious and aware of each and every day, and all the moments that make up the day. Finding those joyful moments and reflecting back on them at the end of the day with gratitude, helps to shift your focus to what has gone well. This I truly believe is the secret to living a joyful life. So take notice of the kindness, the thoughtfulness, the smiles, the small wins, the joy in each and every day!
These five simple actions can make a difference so test them out and I’d love to hear what works for you. Do you have other techniques that work well for you?