Tag Archives: stress

10 Tips to Address Work Overload

As an entrepreneur and a business owner, there is not enough time in the day for you to  accomplish everything  you capture and put on your list.   There’s business-related stuff, which covers making sure your business is healthy. This includes things like attending to your concerns in marketing, finances and taxes, production, customer relations, legal issues and  business permits, social media, blogging, etc.

Then there’s your personal stuff — like your health (physical, mental, and emotional), and the important things that make up your life — your relationships, your family and friends, your hobbies, etc.

In the rush and push to finish what is important and urgent– and the way things go, practically everything that falls into our laps feel that way– some things  eventually get pushed to the side along the way.
Peace of mind can become a faint memory.
Focus breaks down into stuttering dribs and drabs.
Energy levels drop. Attention fractures.
That’s what happens when the the To-Do list never ends for the day.

Being burdened with too many things to do is endemic in our world now. The  time-crunch and stress has  been the driving force behind the productivity movement and all the self-help material written and produced to help us carry the unwieldy and often out-of balance load.

Here we present  a few basic ways to deal with the issue, all of which can be used in various combinations or  simultaneously for a multi-pronged sustainable solution to the situation. Continue reading 10 Tips to Address Work Overload

Anticipation Versus Worry

11 November 2011, by A. Cedilla

Remember how sharp and hyper-real the world looks like when you’re anticipating something?

  • Getting up very early on Christmas morning.
  • Haunting the mailbox (or the side-table beside the front door) for your acceptance letter from college.
  • The last few minutes before you’re called in for the final interview.
  • 5 minutes before you meet the person you’ve been corresponding with through Skype and e-mail for the past 6 months.
  • The moment the door opens to your first exhibit, and the first guests arrive.

You’re antsy. You can’t be still. You’re screamingly awake –internally, at least– and your thoughts are going a hundred miles an hour. What’s going to happen next? What do you do if you get what you want? What do you do if you don’t? What do you do? It feels like you’re going to vibrate out of your skin, you’re so dizzy.

What about these situations?

  • You’re behind on your credit cards. Way behind, and every time the phone rings you train yourself to ignore it. The creditors won’t get anything anyway, it would only be a waste of time. Then there’s a knock on the door.
  • It’s the week before finals, and it seems the whole student population is at the library. All the tables are filled, and the snafu with the books you reserved can’t be fixed, the books just aren’t there anymore. Sorry.
  • The numbers have been steadily dropping in the past month, and more customers are opting out of your latest marketing strategy’s sign-up plan.
  • Too much month, not enough money. You have a gap of four days before your next paycheck comes in, and it might as well be two weeks.

Continue reading Anticipation Versus Worry

Five Psychic Tips to An Easier Morning

04 July 2011, by A. Cedilla

I’m going to tell you something you already know about making your mornings flow smoother. Ready?

To have an easy start to your day, create a system where you set up needed things the night before. This is the short, polite version of “Prior planning prevents piss-poor performance.”

Even in this economy, people’s lives have a way of establishing equilibrium. We’re hardy little survivors, we are, and life has a way of settling into a state of stability as we adjust to our new circumstances. And whether you’re a free-lance artist, a stay-at-home-parent, a line worker, an executive or an executive assistant, you have a work day: a time of day where you labor.

That equilibrium posits that you have a relatively steady life. For the most part, you can safely expect things to run on a certain schedule. You can assess and prep for the situations you expect, you can prepare the things you need for those events, and you have a hold on what’s going to happen in your regular workday and work week… that’s why you have routines.

Routines grow around things we need to do on a regular basis, everything from how you wake up and feed yourself in the morning, to the way you set up your office and desk, to the things you attend to first as you balance your workload, all the way down to your before-bed rituals.

You know what you’re going to do? Prepare the way for it to go smoothly.
You know what you want to happen? Set it up so it will.
You know what you need to do? Stop over-analyzing it and do it.
Continue reading Five Psychic Tips to An Easier Morning

Protect Yourself By Having A Wind-Down Hour

20 June 2011, by A. Cedilla

Let’s say you have a big project. A big project and a tight deadline. You get this thing done, it’ll mean big change for you and your business. If you get this thing nailed…wow. But then there are the dozen other things you have to juggle in your role as a business owner.

There are also your other roles: mom or dad, civic leader or writer-on-the-side, working student, etc. You have so much to do, and not enough hours in the day. Something has to give, and usually one of the first things to go is enough sleep.

When you cut down on things like sleep to squeeze more time into your day, eventually it will catch up. It isn’t always the sudden big stresses that beat us down, but the constant little stresses that we go through that wear us out enough that when we crash, we can crash hard.

One way to deal with those constant stresses is establishing the habit of a wind-down hour.

Just as you need to have a system in place to get you up and going in the morning, you need another to park your stress and leave it before it drains you even more. Otherwise, you’d be running your mind all night and going nowhere but zombie-land the next day.

If it helps, think of yourself as a car: If you’re parking your car for the night, you’re not going to leave the engine running, right? In your actual case, to have time enough to get real rest, you have to switch off. Disconnect the negative charges running in your head before it drains your batteries.
Continue reading Protect Yourself By Having A Wind-Down Hour

The Art of Stress Free Project Management

13 May 2011, by A. Cedilla

A.K.A: The Zen of Project Management, or, “Why So Serious?”

One of the ways we trip ourselves up is that we put too much of ourselves into a project.

Aside from perfectionism, which is a looping dead-end in itself, our focus disperses under the weight of all the details, decisions, choke-points and politics inherent in the process.

If you’re a group leader, you’re responsible for leading your people, and checking their production and effectiveness in doing their jobs to get the results needed to bring the whole team to the next stage.

The downside is that you can edge towards being over-responsible, taking the blame or the burden for something that really isn’t under anybody’s control.

Our advice? Don’t be too emotionally invested in the outcome, or the micro-details. Take a zen approach, finding the middle way between the big picture and the small strokes. Once a certain momentum is reached, things will move beyond your control. Learn to go with the flow, neither obsessing over what went wrong in the past nor anxiously trying to predict the future.
Continue reading The Art of Stress Free Project Management

The Importance of Energy Levels in Scheduling

09 April 2011, by A. Cedilla

AKA: The E(nergy) Factor and You

While it’s intimidating and awesome to have a relentless and unstoppable machine like the Terminator on your side, it’s self-defeating — as well as delusional — to think that you can be just as unstoppable in the pursuit of your goals. For one, this is real-life, not the movies. For another, you’re made of flesh and bone. Bones ache and flesh gets fatigued. What’s more, brains get drained.

And can you imagine getting James Cameron for a boss?

Anyway, when it comes to ensuring a sustainable schedule, people often forget to factor in their personal energy levels. To everything there are cycles, remember? Ups and downs, stops and starts, peaks and valleys…

When it comes to heavy tasks and big projects, it’s never quite one straight shot – zoom! – right down the road, with a full-tank, no obstacles, blue skies and green lights all the way.

That’s a nice fantasy, but even with the best of times, you’re still a person with a body that needs rest, a mind that can burn out and feelings that can influence your thoughts and decisions (and vice-versa), and distract you from paying attention to where you’re going.

Even as the way to your goals are twisty and full of stop-starts, misfires and rapid adjustment, your body has its own demands and cycles. If you don’t want to be torn between the two, you need to be able to get them to work together. There are high-energy people , low-energy people, and a wide range in-between. What’s your baseline?
Continue reading The Importance of Energy Levels in Scheduling

Spend Money, Save Time

10 March 2011, by A. Cedilla

“You just gave advice on how save money and now this?”

Well, with every important choice we deal with in life there are always flip-sides to consider. If someone gives you advice that doesn’t jive with you, you don’t have to take it as is. Or reject it outright, either.

Consider pulling a 180 and look at it the other way.

Or take a few steps off to the side, say, like a 90-degree shift. That way, through some cock-eyed mental contortions and inner re-shuffling, you can get a good look from different sides of the equation, and somehow get a better, more rounded view of the entire situation than if you were firmly stuck on just one side of the discussion.

See, there are just some things more important than strict adhesion to a budget. A budget is a plan, a map. It is not the terrain. You stick to the plan without adjusting for real-life circumstance — a busted water-pipe, an emergency root-canal, an utterly unexpected opportunity to see your favorite band — you’re holding “The Budget” as paramount, and forgetting the purpose for which it was drawn up for — which is to use your money to serve you.
Continue reading Spend Money, Save Time

How’s Your Schedule 2: Reducing Stress

15 February 2011, by A. Cedilla

Logically and realistically speaking, there are certain essential principles that we need to build our schedules on. Being aware of these principles would make it easier for you to put yourself in the right mind-frame to make a good schedule, one that factors in the essential parts of your days, your weeks, and your months.

(As an aside, we’re not really wired for long-term focus right out of the gate. That kind of focus takes discipline and some training — and sometimes a singular obsession.

The usual way we deal is to break things down in a logical progression of stages, and attend to each stage before going onto the next. You focus on the work-related snafu front of you, and don’t think of the potluck party next Saturday, for example.)

Think of your schedule not just as something that keeps your time and your activities in sync, but also as a sort of “coming soon” announcer’s service, a time-radar which pings you on what you can expect in the next few weeks, or next few months.

Doing so helps ease what’s “coming soon” and helps you not to stress about next year — the mind can only project that far for so long without going a little wonky in fear, anxiety or hype. So, back to principles: Continue reading How’s Your Schedule 2: Reducing Stress

How To Deal With The Daily Slog

29 September 2010, by A. Cedilla

In an uncertain world where it seems security should be the number one priority for everyone, it’s counter-intuitive thing to suggest the following, but it’s true. The things we most complain about can actually help develop our skills and tolerance. Things which in themselves also add to our sense of security.

Running with Nietzsche’s “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger,” it takes a deliberate, practiced change of perspective to see the hardship we’re living through today and use it to strengthen ourselves.

Mostly we practice evasive maneuvers: “Waaauugh, look out!” followed by, “Damn that was close.”

How many times have you ever actually dared to say, “It’s alright. I can handle it. I’ll be fine,” and mean it?

 

What do you commonly complain about in your daily workday, or most often strikes you as a Do Not Want in your work? What are the top three stressors you encounter on the most consistent basis?

  • The long hours, and work life imbalance? The tedium of mindless drone-work?
  • Unreal expectations of productivity and availability?
  • The ever-present bogeyman of joblessness?

Continue reading How To Deal With The Daily Slog

How To Survive Your Own Business

27 September 2010, by A. Cedilla

If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s frighteningly easy to slip into the “one-man band” mind-set without noticing it, especially if you do run a one-man business. You got into it, you built it, you’re running it — of course you’ll feel it’s all on you.

It’s your baby, your show. No one knows it like you do. You’re the CEO, CFO, secretary, delivery man, technical support and IT, food-service provider and maintenance.

With so many roles to fill, if you don’t take precautions you will burn yourself out. What can you do to help yourself and survive your own business?

Know your priorities and build strong routines around and under them. Breaking things down into manageable chunks, this boils down to:

  1. Knowing your priorities.
  2. Establishing a strong routine.
  3. Building strong boundaries and enforcing them: two helpful articles explain the value of limits and how respecting them can help you.

Continue reading How To Survive Your Own Business