There are certain times of the year it seems as if there is a million and one projects all trying to squeeze out through this bottleneck called ‘you’! Depending on how we handle ourselves, we either look back on these times as ones of great stress and worry, or with the glowing satisfaction of getting a job well done. Here are a few tips on ensuring the latter result prevails:
Start the day with time for yourself
As tempting as it might be to wake up and suddenly rush into all the things you have to do, it is more beneficial to start the day an hour later and from a position of inner strength. In particular I would recommend two invaluable practices that will considerably reduce the stress overload from the coming day: meditation and physical exercise. A good morning meditation imbues you with a sense of peace and strength, and will considerably help your focus as you enter into life’s challenges. In addition 30 minutes of running, walking or other aerobic activity will also help to shake free any tiredness and crankiness and liven you up as you enter the daily battlefield.
Keep one focus at a time
When you are working on a project, work single-mindedly on it without thinking of the myriad other things you have to do. If an idea comes to you about another project, write it down and continue on with what you were doing, so you can then come back to it.
Set smaller sub-goals
If we are not careful, we can waste a considerable amount of energy after we get up intimidating ourselves with the scale of what we are about to embark upon. If we can instead divide each project down into a number of smaller sub-tasks, and focus on the completion of each task, then the whole thing suddenly seems much more manageable.
Get a reminder system
How often have you forgotten what you were supposed to do in one project because you were busy absorbed in another? Have some kind of daily reminder system of the projects you were supposed to do – either a diary. Even better, have a calendar program that greets you with todays to do list as soon as you turn on your computer in the morning.
Detachment, detachment, detachment
Not everything you attempt in life will end up being crowned with success. Unforeseen circumstances will arise, delays will happen, and sometimes . It is infinitely healthier to embark on a project with a view to getting joy from the doing, rather than relying on a result that may be outside your control.
Constantly evaluate your priorities
One common cause of stress stems from having a fixed idea as to what should happen and pursuing that idea regardless of how much circumstances are changing or how much pressure is building up. It is worth bearing in mind that we often begin projects with an inflated idea of the amount of work we are able to do each day, and so we should be prepared to adjust our goals if the pressure required is just too great. Be prepared to take into account changing factors – and your own inner intuition – as each project progresses.
It is often during times of great stress that we are tempted to cut back on our exercise or go for the quick junk food option, and yet it is at these times that our energy and nutrition needs are greatest. Thankfully there are plenty of ways nowadays to eat healthy on the go, so take advantage of them. Sleep is the other thing that tends to be skimped upon, but catching fifteen minutes after lunch can really restore a sense of vitality to the rest of the day.
Don’t work right up till bedtime
We have all had that feeling where we carry our thoughts in to sleep were they tumble through the night, and the sleep we get isnt particularly restful. Take steps to wind down your thought processes just before sleep – meditation is very useful in this regard, but you could also finish the day by reading an inspirational book or listening to some relaxing music; something that soothes the mind and enables you to wake up refreshed the next day.
I’ll just finish the article with a list of online resources for some of the things I was talking about, just to help you put some of these things into action:
Meditation: Of course, you could consult the extensive list of meditation articles on this blog. Meditation Workshop is also another site that gives a good grounding in the basic concepts of meditation,
Exercise: Last year, I wrote a lot of articles for allaboutrunning.net, many of them aimed at getting the first time runner into a regular daily practice
Desktop calendars: Both Vista and Mac users now have calendars bundled with them, earlier Windows users might try an online version such as Google Calendar.
Health: There are no end of sites dealing with this department – one favourite of mine at the moment is smoothieweb.com, with tons of different smoothie recipies…
Photo: Ranjit Swanson, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries