Saturday, October 16, 2010

9 Habits That Can Help You in Managing Self the Better Way and Control Stress

We are so used to doing things that we simply forget the ones that we shouldn't. Here's a list of what crossed my mind - if there's anything else you'd like to add, be my guest.

1. Trying to do everything

Yes, we have been brought up with the notion that we shouldn't pass over any of our works to others but have you heard the word “delegation”?
I understood its importance when I realised that people are always willing to help but I should know how to take it. by rule, 80% of our time gets wasted in doing 20% of work. So how about slashing that unproductive time from 80% of low value work and making the best of your day?

2. Answering all emails (or calls and messages for that matter)

Ahhhhh! Another silly notion that I had – I used to think I have to reply to all emails until I noticed that not all my emails were replied to. In fact, many weren’t, even when they were follow-up replies to reader mails asking for help. Seemingly, all the effort that go into meticulously typing, wording and formatting my mails wasn’t really getting me anywhere. I would be stuck in email land the whole day long with no output to claim of my own except for an increase in mails in my sent box. So I began to selectively reply to higher priority emails, and the world didn’t stop. In fact, I now have more time to create more high value content and articles for readers, which is a big win for everyone.

3. Thinking you have to do everything immediately

Apart from my to-do list and not-do list, I also have a do-later list. This is to collect the items that drop in mid-way through the day, usually administrative, nitty gritty tasks that don’t take much time but aren’t majorly important too. If I drop what I’m doing at the moment to work on them it can be disruptive, so instead I put them in my do-later list. Then at the end of the day, I batch and process everything at one go. It’s a lot more effective.

4. Putting important tasks off

Procrastination is the mind killer. It may seem like a good idea to put off that task now, but that’s just setting yourself for a jam later on, and it’s not worth it. Get started on your most important projects now and stop putting them off. Out of all the people I’ve met in all my life, I’ve never come across anyone who gets authentic joy and happiness from procrastination. The ones who claim to be happy procrastinating are usually living in an illusion, alternating from “Oh I’m happy the way I am” to “I wish I don’t have to do this” to “Sigh I wish I started earlier” in a matter of seconds.

5. Trying to get things perfect the first time round

Interesting, it’s the perfectionist in us that causes many of us to procrastinate. If the perfectionist side of you is hindering you from getting things done in the first place and makes you feel stressed, that’s something you should look into. Get into the notion of ‘drafts’ – let yourself work on a 1st draft, where you work on the core content, then return for a 2nd or 3rd draft where you iron out the little details. Give yourself the permission to make mistakes which you can correct later on.

6. Being hung up over details

Being detail oriented is good. However, don’t be so obsessed with details that it holds you back. Does this matter a year from now? 3 years from now? 5 years? If not, then maybe it’s  not worth worrying so much about it now. Go for the bigger picture; that’s more important to you and that’s what is going to keep you motivated.

7. Not having clear goals

Do you know your goals for this month? How about your goals for this year? And the next year? If you can answer these 3 questions with absolute certainty and conciseness, then you’re good to go. Otherwise, perhaps it’s good to spend some time to think over them or else you’ll start getting stressed out.

8. Not taking breaks

Humans are not robots. While robots can sustain constant output over a long period of time, we need to rest and recharge otherwise we come under stress. So schedule a short break in between your work hours, say for 5 or 10 minutes, take a breather and say no to stress. You’ll find your focus markedly higher when you return.

9. Trying to please everyone

I like this quote by Colin Powell, which says “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity”. You’re never going to be able to control what others think, so don’t spend too much time sweating over it and stress yourself. Instead, work on the things you have control over – yourself, your emotions, your thoughts, your actions and feel happy about it. Spend your energy in the creation process, and on people who do deserve your attention and love. Try it for a week – You’ll find it’s a lot more rewarding this way.


Fiona said...

Hi Nimita,

Can you also add the habit of 'poking into others business unnecessary' in your list?


Cherry McGill said...

I'd love to be a better person but I don't think by not replying to emails is going to make me one.


Anonymous said...

Cool write-up. Enjoyed it.