“Time is always right to do the right things.”
Martin Luther King
How to eliminate the negative side of stress?
Feeling tired, exhausted and lost your productiveness sometimes? In this case you went too far with stress.
The goal is not to get rid of the stress, but to get rid of the negative stress. There are two main forms of stress:
eustress (positive stress) – gets you going, keeps you alive, optimal arousal.
distress (negative stress) – exhausting and tiring, destructive.
Eustress is necessary to be ready to take action and achieve results, distress comes when you are trying to get too much out of yourself.
Tips to get from distress to eustress:
Go outside, do sports, run, swim, take a walk… – release the tension by doing sports.
Practice meditation or relaxation exercises (might need some training, but calm music can help in the beginning).
Loosen up with coffee, energy drinks, chocolate and other additional stimulators.
Don´t make your problems bigger than they actually are. In other words – don´t lose your head, but ask yourself: “what is most important right now?” – remember the core value principle from the first lesson.
Focus on one thing and devote yourself to it, do not try to do everything at the same time – bad multitasking might be even worse than doing nothing.
Train yourself to control your state – being relaxed or activated. To get relaxed: focus on your breathing and imagine yourself into a place of relaxation, where you feel safe. To get activated: wake your body by physically moving.
How to keep yourself energized in little time?
Do you wake up in the mornings? No, really, do you wake up in the mornings? It means that you don´t just crawl out of bed and head for the coffee cup, but really activate your mind, body and soul.
For example when taking a shower, don´t settle with merely washing yourself, but do some dancing moves, repeat some really positive mantra out loud and feel every drop of water touching your skin. Turn simple things into cool experiences. Wake up your senses, it will help you to get to the right track in the morning.
Create yourself a pleasant morning gymnastics ritual with different stretching exercises. Or if you want to do it manly, then do some good push-ups 🙂
While eating, take time to feel and enjoy the taste of the food. Select your meals taking your lifestyle into consideration – eat only the stuff you need for taking action, as much as you need energy for it.
It is recommended to set your working intervals(45 minutes for example) and take a 10-15 minute pause after each interval. During the pause get away from the computer, move yourself in the office or outside. Every time you feel not getting the results you want and your body says it´s time to move, then remind yourself the moment when you did some powerful sports activities and felt really good after that. Try to create that same feeling in your body, to get some encouragement to go and do sports again. If you can´t remember having this kind of powerful feeling, then it´s about time to create one.
How to find more time to experience inspiration?
“I can´t give you a surefire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.”
Herbert Bayard Swope
The actual question is: “what prevent me from being inspired now?” or “in which ways could I experience more inspiration in my current activities?”
Being inspired is not some holy event that only happens once in a year. Inspiration can be everywhere – it is where you decide that it is.
Best way to find time for inspiration is to get rid of irrelevant stuff:
Define it very clearly – what is important for you?
Remove all the activities that do not create substantial value for your (taking your core value into consideration). It is possible, that you do not need to do those things at all; perhaps someone else is more excited about doing it?
Automate routine processes, create systems, that reduce routine activities.
Exercise: Make a list of all the things you´re planning to do, but you have doubts if they are actually important. Ask yourself: “what would happen if I would leave them as they are?”. Throw away all the unimportant stuff. If they still need to be done, then for each activity find another person who finds those activities much more pleasurable. Perhaps you can help that person in some field you enjoy a lot more?
Which of your routine processes could be automated? For example document templates for proposals, automatic signature for e-mails etc. Also find ways to automate your own services, offering better service with smaller effort.
Remember the good old Pareto principle 80:20: 80% of the results can be achieved with 20% of the activities – you just have to find the most important activities. Don´t make your life complicated. Inspiration comes from the enjoyment when you look back on your great achievements.
How to find time for inspiration by making connections between activities?
“It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing.”
If you start to feel that the pressure smothers the enjoyment and playfulness in your life, then sharpen the saw – look at the big picture to find the intersection among your activities.
I use mindmap to do that – I map all my important roles and most important activities in those roles, that come to my mind. I mark the ones that are the most important, ones that I have to deal with. After that I start to seek for connections between different activities.
School, work (creation), relationships, organizations and other actions – take a moment to look at them as a big picture and start to find how seemingly different activities form a synergistic system.
How to free yourself from the desperate need to deliver outstanding results? Not trying to be special, but being special?
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
Someones asking your advice for solving a problem. By trying to give the astonishing answer you suddenly find your mind being blank. Feels familiar? Why is that?
It´s called latent inhibition – your own inner barricade that says: “this idea is not cool enough, therefore I will not say it out loud.” How to overcome this inhibition?
When ideating, agree that: “ok, this is the idea generation phase, where we get all the wild ideas. And after this phase we will see, what suits the best”. Agree that all ideas are welcome and evaluation and critics (if there will be any) will only take place in the next phase.
Get clear what are the activities that take you into the state of flow, being in the zone, one with the assignment, totally committed. Find ways to intentionally create that flow state in yourself when necessary. You can be more spontaneous and authentic in this state, without worrying about the opinions of others.
Let your thoughts fly. Do not try to rationally analyze, but just be.
Exercise: gather your friends and organize spontaneity-sessions – gather to be totally open-minded and talk about everything that comes to your head. Train your courage to be spontaneous.
How to really freshen yourself up once a week?
Imagine yourself as a driver who is on an exciting journey, heading for his destination by the highway. Ask yourself: “am I too busy to take gas for the car?”. Well, are you?
Exercise: Each week take one day where you totally switch yourself off from work and everyday life. Take this day to do things you normally don´t do. Go to countryside to visit your grandmother, try a new hobby or sports activity.
Feel how the change of environment and change of activities brings you fresh energy and new ideas,
Inspiration with yourself
Exercise of the week: Learn to notice the moments you are over-stressing yourself. Create a habit to ask yourself: “Does this current activity help me to live a more fulfilled life?” If the answer is no, then say to yourself: “clear” and start tackling on the important stuff, letting the worrying thought go (you can even write it to a piece of paper and through into a garbage bin).
Book reccommendation: Timothy Ferriss “4 Hour Workweek” and Jim Loehr/Tony Schwartz “The Power of Full Engagement”.
Film recommendation: Cashback (2006) and Into The Wild (2007)