“Unnatural work produces too much stress.”
“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”
Sydney J. Harris
Keeping the stress away in life isn’t just about the big decisions and challenges like the career, your most important relationships, money and health.
It is also to a large degree about what you do each day and week. Those small habits that you may forget about or neglect that when added up make a huge difference.
Here are 10 of them that are having a wonderful impact in my life and have had a very positive effect for many people.
Write it all down.
Use your mind for better things than remembering what to do. And the mind is often like a leaky bucket. So write down all your great ideas, insights, and thoughts before they go missing somewhere and add what you need to do to a to-do list.
One thing at a time.
You’ll get better results and feel better and less stressed if you do just one thing at a time. So instead of multi-tasking, get your day started with doing the most important task of the day until it is finished. Then continue with the next task that is now the most important one for you.
Ask instead of guessing.
Reading minds is hard. So, instead ask questions and communicate. This will help you to minimize unnecessary conflicts, misunderstandings, negativity and waste or time and energy.
Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
Before you start thinking too much about something and building it up something big in your head, ask yourself “am I making a mountain out of a molehill here? And if you get lost in victim thinking in some way then ask yourself “does anyone on the planet have it worse than me right now?”.
Pack your bag before you go to bed.
Then you don’t have to get stressed out by that in morning and you are less likely to forget something.
Set clear boundaries for your day and week.
I have to have limits to properly balance fully focused work with relaxation. By doing things this way I have discovered that I become more productive when not everything is about being productive. And life, in my experience, does become more pleasurable too. Three ways to set boundaries for your day and week are:
- Set at stop time and start time for work. I do not work after 7 o clock in the evenings and I do not work before 8 o clock in the morning.
- Plenty of breaks each day. Take breaks during your day to stay sharp and to have energy for the evenings and weekends too. I usually work for about 45 minutes and take a 15 minute break per hour. During that break I get away from the computer and do something different like going out for fresh air, eating something or watching half an episode of the Simpsons. Then every third hour or so I take a longer break for lunch, a snack or something like that.
- Don’t work on weekends. I try to stay away from the usual impressions and routines during the weekend. I usually take one media- and internet free day. I rarely check my emails on Saturdays or Sundays. Instead I spend time with my girlfriend, friends, family, a good book or movie or I do some other fun activity.
Keep everything in its place.
If everything has its own place then it is whole lot easier to keep your home reasonably ordered and decluttered from day to day. And to find the keys, wallet and cell phone as you are heading out the door.
Be 10 minutes early.
This very simple tip has transformed those traveling times during my day into relaxing breaks instead of passages of time and space that only up my levels of stress and other negative feelings.
Keep a very simple workspace.
By keeping a very simple workspace you minimize the distracting and stressing clutter. And your attention becomes easier to focus in a natural way on what is most important. So think about how you can create such a place to work in.
One suggestion is to just have small desk with a laptop, a pad of paper and a pen and something that inspires you on one of your walls like a list of your top priorities or dreams, a good quote or a meaningful photo that gives you a jolt of energy and positivity.
When stressed, lost in a problem or the past or future in your mind breathe with your belly for two minutes and just focus on the air going in and out. This will calm your body down and bring your mind back into the present moment again.