Setbacks and difficulties happen to everyone. My guess is you feel overwhelmed and stressed at various times throughout the week, possibly even every day. What do you do when that happens? If you are like me, your blood pressure rises, your brain freaks out, and your productivity drops to zero.
One of the best ways I have learned to keep stress from overtaking me is to go through the following routine.
1. Take a deep breath.
2. On paper, prioritize what needs to be done.
3. Focus on doing one thing at a time.
As long as you are actively working, stress will have a difficult time overtaking you. So do something! Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start. By listing these items on paper and ranking them in order of importance, it is now a matter of doing. You can only do one that at a time, so focus your energy on completing that one task. Don’t focus on the entire project and how awful things are at present. Simply focus on completing one little step, and then another little step, and then another. Pretty soon you will have a big chunk of your project done and you will be wonderfully surprised how easy it will be to complete the next one. You will be on a roll and you won’t want to stop.
The key is to start small and DO SOMETHING! Just as freezing temperatures are less likely to freeze running water, stress will have a hard time freezing your brain and productivity if you are actually doing something. It is amazing what completing a simple task will do. And don’t try to be productive for an entire hour. Just try to get something accomplished in the next 15 minutes. Then do another 15 minutes. Then another.
I have also found that it makes a significant difference if you actually time yourself. Yes, get your phone out and set the timer. Don’t just assume you will check the clock after 15 minutes. Set the timer. Then watch how your brain gets in gear when you are racing against time.
Don’t let stress get the best of you this week. Set your goals and then start working those goals 15 minutes at a time. You can do it!