Stress sucks. It literally sucks the energy and focus right out of you. I should know, because at any given moment in time, I’m a walking stressball, ready to explode.
I’m working on changing that, because, if you haven’t heard by now, too much stress is bad for you. A little stress, like having to cram for a test or pull a late-niter to finish a product or put the finishing touches on a chapter of your book, is ok.
Some people claim to thrive on this type of “against the clock” stress. I admit, sometimes, I procrastinate (sometimes?), and the thrill of completing a project with mere hours to spare feels like a little adrenaline rush. But, the reality is, that if you fall into the pattern of relying on stress to get your work done, you will fall far behind.
Then, there’s the other stress, the kind that distracts you from your work, pulls your focus onto something entirely else, and makes it impossible to give 100% to whatever you’re doing. I deal with that a lot.
I have a daughter on the autism spectrum, a toddler who thinks she needs to be cuddled 27 hours a day, and debt up past my eyeballs, filling every inch of my brain. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for focusing on work sometimes.
Whatever type of stress you have, here are a few tips that WILL help you bust through.
Don’t procrastinate. Give yourself more than enough time to get your work done. If you really don’t want to do it, you really need to consider if you’re in the right line of business. It might be time for a change.
Get enough sleep. Seriously. I cannot stress this one enough, because sleep lets your brain absorb and process the stuff you dealt with the day before. Lack of sleep just keeps your stress cycles stuck on repeat.
Re-prioritize stuff. I had to do this recently. In this business, sometimes, the money’s just not coming in, especially if you’re like me, and still learning the marketing side of things. My home life was beginning to suffer because I spent so much time in front of my computer, trying to “make ends meet.” I ended up making some drastic changes that would mean I didn’t have to stretch those ends so far, living on less money, so I could lose that stress and enjoy my family again.
Look at things from a new perspective. If you are constantly stressed out by work or family issues, look at why it’s stressing you. Are you worried about not making enough money? Are you worried about a family member being upset with you? Imagine the worst possible scenario, working through it step-by-step in your head. Really, would it be as bad as you imagine it to be? Probably not. If it is, tell yourself you’ll deal with it when it happens, not worry about it right now.
Let it go. Sometimes, we hold on to stress because it’s all we know. If you’re a natural worrier, or if you can’t break the stress patterns you’ve fallen into, just give yourself permission to let go of whatever is causing you the stress. Let yourself stop worrying about the bills, about getting the job done, about the consequences of not doing something. This doesn’t mean you give yourself permission to let go of the responsibility for these things, but it does mean that, without worry filling up your brain, you’ll be better equipped to tackle them without the added stress.
You deserve to be successful and happy, not a walking stressball. Kick your stress to curb, and focus on living the life you want to live, so you can enjoy it.
How do you tackle your productivity-killing stress? Let me know in the comments section below.