When Stressed, just move some soil, not the Earth

We debate where to start, but sometimes you just have to start something, just move one thing.

Photo by Kyle Ellefson on Unsplash

Some people want to feel less stressed, but what is it about being stressed that is negative? I believe that we can feel stressed when we feel stuck, confused or overwhelmed. There is no single source. We feel stressed when we’re not sure what we’re doing is returning what we want. We debate where to start, but sometimes you just have to start something, just move one thing.

When Stressed, identify your priorities for only this week, this day.

The last post looked at recognising your key priorities for the week, building on that, we can use the Eisenhower box or ‘Important Urgent’ box below to consider where to file tasks. You can use this box to consider your work for the week or your work for a day (changing your ‘urgent’ criteria as needed).

Adapted from Eisenhower Box, James Clear

What then becomes your criteria for Important?
What then becomes your criteria for Urgent?

We can only focus intensely, in flow, in deep work, for so long, 90 minute cycles per session, 4 hours a day. More than that and you’ll be wasting the evening recovering from brain ache. See it for yourself, take a moment to time yourself and note your energy levels. Given these limits to effective work, how you can you schedule your priorities so that you work on them when you are most alert and effective?

How will you schedule time to focus on those Important but not Urgent tasks?
Idea 1 – Work backwards from key deadlines to break down tasks into manageable chunks. It could simply be ‘spend 30 minutes per day on X’. With the smallest, inexcusably easy chunks, it’s hard to not try.
Idea 2 – It’s something you know you need to do but for whatever reason you keep putting it off so rope in some cheerleaders/sergeants. Ask a friend to check on you regarding X. Some people are more responsive to outside accountability so use it to your advantage.

Who can you delegate Not important but Urgent tasks to?
Idea 1 – When it comes to delegating, some people worry about saying ‘no’, I suggest remembering to work as a team, remember ‘how’. Rather than viewing things in ‘Yes/No’, consider How. You’re not saying ‘no’ to your colleague or manager, but ‘how’, as a team, can you complete this task on time.
Idea 2 – Who said you can’t do swapsies? Whether it be household chores or organising an event, work to your strengths.

Bonus – Remember, emails aren’t your to-do list – How to be proactive with emails using an E.M.A.I.L. process

If you missed the last post, click here to read how identifying your priorities and putting them first minimises you being Reactive (and resentful).

Next time – On being Exhausted, how do you build and maintain resilience so that you can keep turning up?

Originally published at

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