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Avoid Traveling on the Road Most Trammeled

It is within your capability to minimize the daily level of self-induced stress that you typically incur

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Stress is a constant factor in the lives of nearly all career professionals. Much of the stress we experience, however, is self-induced. In other words, we generate stress as a result of our own actions rather than it emanating from an external source.

When we try to cram too much into a day, an hour, or whatever time we have available, the resulting experience is stress. When we take on too much in terms of what we buy, what we manage, what we need to organize, or what we’re simply trying to keep pace with, the predictable outcome is the experience of stress.

What if it was within your capability to minimize the daily level of self-induced stress that you typically incur? The excellent news is that it is within your power. By taking a few small steps in the course of the day, you can minimize the stress that you might otherwise experience based on self-generated behaviors.

Here are some ideas to help you avoid traversing the road most trammeled, i.e., incurring self-induced stress:

Acknowledge that you generally do your best work when you’re in control of your immediate environment. If you have a pressing issue to handle, or something that requires mental consternation, take the time to secure your immediate environment. If you need quiet, post signs, turn the sound off on your cell phone, or hide from the rest of the office if it helps. The 10- to 20-minute stretches of solitude that you carve out for yourself to tackle challenging tasks can yield immediate rewards. Not only do you often finish tasks more quickly than you had first presumed, you’re able to turn to the next task more readily.

Recognize the most vital times of the day for you to tackle challenging tasks. For most people, based on current studies, these times are 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Your productivity peaks might be somewhat different. In any case, you need to know when they occur.

Realize that some tasks, especially those you haven’t attempted before, require extra care and attention. These often include math calculations or arranging items in sequence. If you opt to tackle such tasks when you know you’re more likely to be energetic, focused, and ready to proceed, you have a higher probability of succeeding.

Establish relationships with co-workers so that you support one another in your quest to get things done. Thus, you respect each other’s quiet times, especially if you have presented such times to one another. For example, you might say, “I need Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4 to myself.” Also, avoid sending extraneous emails and texts to co-workers that they don’t need to receive. Shorten long memos that can be summarized in a paragraph or two. Cut down on sending anything that could wait ‘til later, be discussed in person, or appears neither important nor urgent.

Leave yourself some slack. If you jam-pack your calendar with tasks and activities, day after day and week after week, when something happens out of the ordinary — an emergency, an imposed deadline, or some shift in your areas of responsibility — you undoubtedly experience stress. By allowing a little slack in your daily calendar, even five to 10 minutes here and there, you establish a built-in safety cushion of sorts. Even if addressing an emergency requires more time than the slack time you built in, you still feel a bit better about tackling the issue because you have some slack. As a result, self-induced stress tends to diminish.

For the balance of your career, you’ll experience stress from many sources. Hopefully, most them are external, not self-induced. With awareness, forethought, and planning, you can keep self-induced stress to a reasonable minimum. – – – – –

 

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Business

Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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Life

What Does the Term African American Mean?

The Left vehemently champions racial division

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I’ve never understood why Black Americans for several decades running were referred to as African Americans. Even if their ancestors were from Africa, the majority of the nation’s 44 million Black Americans has never been to Africa, have no viable connection to the continent itself, and have little or no concern about it.

Please Explain it to Me

Now here’s the really confusing part. Black Canadians, to my knowledge, generally have never been called African Canadians. Black people in Mexico have not been called African Mexicans. There’s little use of this type of terminology in Europe such as African French, African Italians, African Spanish, or African Portuguese.

Why, only in America, did the description of Black Americans, namely African Americans ever take hold? Overarching names for the various races have fallen out of favor in recent years. White Americans generally are not referred to as Caucasians. Black Americans are not referred to as Negroes.

Endless Morphs

You have to wonder how and why terminology, for various segments of our population, keeps morphing into something new. At one time white Americans referred to black people as colored people. If I were a member of the black community and was referred to by white people as a colored person, I would be upset. We all have a color!

Later, the most appropriate way to address someone of color was to say they were a person of color. However, that is also a misnomer as once again, we are all of some color.

Scientists, anthropologists, social researchers, and others have pointed out that theoretically there are no races. If you lined up every single person on Earth from the lightest skin to the darkest skin the gradation from person to person would be so slight as to be virtually undetectable.

I like the approach that actor Morgan Freeman has taken, and I wish that more people would adopt it. He has eloquently stated, on many occasions, that one way to stop being obsessed with race is to stop talking about it.

Obsessed with Race

A large faction within the U.S. – Democrats — are populated by subgroups with overlapping views: liberals, progressives, socialists, and Marxists. They want to keep race at the forefront of all public discourse. In their eyes, virtually any topic that you can address – the total eclipse in April, for example – has some underlying racial component embedded within it. Not all topics have a racial component, but that is what they propagate on a daily basis.

What’s more, people on the Left are on the ever-present lookout for anything which they regard as a transgression when others are referring to minorities. They particularly are focused on anything that a Conservative says, at any time, even if it was 30 or 40 years ago, that to the Left some way represents a slight or lack of respect for minorities, particularly Black Americans.

For these ‘race police’ it’s like a game. They are delighted when they are able to find something, anything, that they can aggrandize to the hilt, have the mainstream media pick up, and whip into a social and cultural frenzy.

This bit of historical news might be hard to recall, but four years before Barack Obama was elected U.S. president, the topic of race was less contentious. A Gallup Poll revealed that 74% White Americans and 68% of Black Americans felt that race relations in the country were good. 19 years later, 43% of White people and 33% of Black people reported the same.

If we could only return to those pre-Obama days when Americans, of all types, had some common goals and shared the same types of aspirations such as succeeding in their professions, building a strong financial base for their family, and raising happy and healthy children.

Divided Forever?

Alas, with so many on the Left vehemently championing racial division it looks as if we don’t have good prospects, at least for the immediate future, to return to those hallowed, pre-Obama days. As an eternal optimist, however, I believe that one day the clamor will die down, and once again, we will simply all be Americans.

—–

 

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